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SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 



SIX MONTHS 



AT 



THE WHITE HOUSE 



WITH 



ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 



Stye Storp of a $fctute. 



BY 

F. B. CARPENTER. 



NEW YORK: 
PUBLISHED BY HURD AND HOUGHTON. 

1867. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by 

Hurd and Houghton, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of 
New York. 



RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE: 

STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BT 

H. 0. HOUGHTON AND COMPANY. 



PREFACE. 



In offering this volume to the public I shall at- 
tempt no apology for its shortcomings, other than to 
say that its production is the result of the unex- 
pected popularity of the series of articles, relating 
to the illustrious subject of whom it mainly treats, 
which were commenced in the New York " Inde- 
pendent " soon after the assassination. 

Written in a spirit of enthusiasm and affection, 
which there has been no effort to disguise, the book 
is, nevertheless, a simple matter-of-fact record of 
daily experience and observation, fragmentary, but 
true, in all essential particulars. There has been 
no disposition to select from, embellish, or sup- 
press, any portion of the material in my possession. 
The incidents given were not in any sense isolated 
exceptions to the daily routine of Mr. Lincoln's 
life. My aim has been throughout these pages to 
portray the man as he was revealed to me, without 
any attempt at idealization. 



71 PREFACE. 

In additica to my own reminiscences, I have 
woven into the book various personal incidents, 
published and unpublished, which bear intrinsic evi- 
dence of genuineness, — attaching in these instances, 
where it seemed necessary and proper, the sources 
of such contributions. 

I am not one of those inclined to believe that 
Mr. Lincoln, in the closing months of his career, 
reached the full measure of his greatness. Man 
may not read the future : but it is my firm convic- 
tion, that, had he lived through his second term, he 
would have continued to grow, as he had grown, in 
the estimation and confidence of his countrymen ; 
rising to a grander moral height with every emer- 
gency, careful always to weigh every argument op- 
posed to his convictions, but, once mounted upon 
those convictions, grounded in righteousness, as im- 
movable as one of the giant ranges of our own 
Rocky Mountains ! 

Aspiring in no sense to the dignity of a biography, 
this volume will fulfil its object if it helps to any 
better knowledge of one, who, apart from the rev- 
erence with which he ever will be regarded for his 
connection with the cause of human Freedom, was 
the best product and exemplar which the world 
has yet seen of American soil and institutions ; the 



PREFACE. Vii 

study of whose character, illustrating as it did the 
highest form of statesmanship, founded upon truth, 
justice, and solid integrity, combining the deepest 
wisdom with a child-like freshness and simplicity, — 

will be of perpetual interest and value. 

F.B.C. 

96 West 45*A Street, New Yokk. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE 



I leave to other and abler pens the proper esti- 
mate of Abraham Lincoln as a ruler and states- 
man, — his work and place in history. Favored 
during the year 1864 with several months of per- 
sonal intercourse with him, I shall attempt in these 
pages to write the story of that association ; not for 
any value which the record will have in itself, but 
for the glimpses it may afford of the person and 
character of the man, — every detail of whose life 
is now invested with enduring interest for the 
American people, 

n. 

That Art should aim to embody and express the 
spirit and best thought of its own age seems self- 
evident. If it fails to do this, whatever else it may 
accomplish, it falls short of its highest object. It 
cannot dwell always among classic forms, nor clothe 
its conceptions in the imagery of an old and worn- 
out world. It must move on, if it is to keep pace 



10 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

with that " increasing purpose which through the 
ages runs," and its ideals must be wrought out of 
the strife of a living humanity. 

It has been well said by a recent writer : " The 
record of the human family to the advent of Christ, 
was the preparation of the photographic plate for 
its image. All subsequent history is the bringing 
out of the divine ideal of true manhood." Slowly, 
but surely, through the centuries, is this purpose 
being accomplished. Human slavery has been the 
material type or expression of spiritual bondage. 
On the lowest or physical plane, it has symbolized 
the captivity and degradation of our higher nature ; 
with the breaking in of new light, and the inspira- 
tion of a deeper life, it is inevitably doomed. That 
man, to attain the full development of the faculties 
implanted in him, must be in spiritual and physical 
freedom, is a principle which lies at the foundation 
of all government ; and the enfranchisement of a 
race to-day thus becomes the assertion and promise 
of a true and coming Emancipation for all men. 



III. 

When Abraham Lincoln, called from the hum- 
blest rank in life to preside over the nation during 
the most momentous period of its history, uttered 
his Proclamation of Freedom, — shattering forever 
the chains which bound four millions of human 
beings in slavery ; an act unparalleled for moral 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 11 

grandeur in the history of mankind, — it was evi- 
dent to all who sought beneath the surface for the 
cause of the war that the crisis was past, — that 
so surely as Heaven is on the side of Right and 
Justice, the North would triumph in the great 
struggle which had assumed the form of a direct 
issue between Freedom and Slavery. 

In common with many others, I had from the 
beginning of the war believed that the government 
would not be successful in putting down a rebellion 
based upon slavery as its avowed corner-stone, with- 
out striking a death-blow at the institution itself. 
As the months went on, and disappointment and 
disaster succeeded one another, this conviction deep- 
ened into certainty. When at length, in obedience 
to what seemed the very voice of God, the thun- 
derbolt was launched, and, like the first gun at Con- 
cord, " was heard around the world," all the enthu- 
siasm of my nature was kindled. The " beast" 
Secession, offspring of the " dragon " Slavery, draw- 
ing in his train a third part of our national stars, 
was pierced with the deadly wound which could not 
be healed. It was the combat between Michael and 
Satan of Apocalyptic vision, reenacted before the 
eyes of the nineteenth century. 



IV. 

To paint a picture which should commemorate 
this new epoch in the history of Liberty, was a 



12 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

dream which took form and shape in my mind to- 
wards the close of the year 1863, ■ — the year made 
memorable in its dawn by the issue of the final de- 
cree. With little experience to adapt me for the 
execution of such a work, there had nevertheless 
come to me at times glowing conceptions of the true 
purpose and character of Art, and an intense desire 
to do something expressive of appreciation of the 
great issues involved in the war. The painters 
of old had delighted in representations of the birth 
from the ocean of Venus, ihe goddess of love. 
Ninety years ago upon this Western continent had 
been witnessed — no dream of fable, but a substan- 
tial fact — the immaculate conception of Constitu- 
tional Liberty ; and at length through great travail 
its consummation had been reached. The long- 
prayed-for year of jubilee had come ; the bonds of 
the oppressed were loosed ; the prison doors were 
opened. " Behold," said a voice, " how a Man 
may be exalted to a dignity and glory almost divine, 
and give freedom to a race. Surely Art should 
unite with Eloquence and Poetry to celebrate such 
a theme." 

I conceived of that band of men, upon whcm 
the eyes of the world centred as never before upon 
ministers of state, gathered in council, depressed, 
perhaps disheartened at the vain efforts of many 
months to restore the supremacy of the govern- 
ment. I saw, in thought, the head of the nation, 
bowed down with his weight of care and responsi- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 13 

bility, solemnly announcing, as he unfolded the pre- 
pared draft of the Proclamation, that the time for 
the inauguration of this policy had arrived ; I en- 
deavored to imagine the conflicting emotions of 
satisfaction, doubt, and distrust with which such an 
announcement would be received by men of the 
varied characteristics of the assembled councillors. 

For several weeks the design of ihe picture was 
slowly maturing, during which time, however, no 
line was drawn upon paper or canvas. Late one 
evening, absorbed in thought upon the subject, I 
took up an unframed photograph lying carelessly in 
my room, and upon the blank side of this, roughly 
and hastily sketched, was embodied the central idea 
of the composition as it had shaped itself in my 
mind. 

To one disposed to look for coincidences in daily 
life, and regard its events as no mere succession of 
accidents, there must often come those which wear 
a deep significance. In seeking a point of unity 
or action for the picture, I was impressed with the 
conviction that important modifications followed the 
reading of the Proclamation at the suggestion of 
the Secretary of State, and I determined upon such 
an incident as the moment of time to be repre- 
sented. I was subsequently surprised and gratified 
when Mr. Lincoln himself, reciting the history of 
the Proclamation to me, dwelt particularly upon 
the fact that not only was the time of its issue de- 
cided by Secretary Seward's advice, but that one 



14 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

of the most important words in the document was 
added through his strenuous representations. 

The central thought of the picture once decided 
upon and embodied, the rest naturally followed; 
one after another the seven figures surrounding the 
President dropped into their places. Those sup- 
posed to have held the purpose of the Proclamation 
as their long conviction, were placed prominently in 
the foreground in attitudes which indicated their 
support of the measure ; the others were represented 
in varying moods of discussion or silent deliberation. 

A few evenings after the completion of the de- 
sign I went to see a friend who I knew was inti- 
mate with the Hon. Schuyler Colfax and Hon. 
Owen Lovejoy, through whom I hoped to obtain 
Mr. Lincoln's assent to my plan. I revealed to 
him my purpose, and asked his assistance in carry- 
ing it into effect. During the following week he 
went to Washington, and in company with Mr. 
Colfax called upon the President, and laid before 
him my project. He kindly listened to the details, 
and then said : " In short, if I understand you, 
you wish me to consent to sit to this artist for the 
picture ? " My friends acknowledged this to be the 
object of their errand. Mr. Lincoln at once, with 
his accustomed kindness, promised his cooperation. 

The last day of the year the Hon. Mr. Lovejoy, 
whom I had never met, but who had become warmly 
interested in the execution of the work, being in 
New York, called at my studio with the wife of my 



SI£ MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 15 

friend, who had been my earnest advocate. At the 
close of the interview he remarked, in his quaint 
way, taking me by the hand, " In the words of 
Scripture, my good friend, I can say now I believe, 
not on account of the saying of the woman, but 
because I have seen for myself." 



V. 

Impracticable as my scheme had at first seemed, 
the way was thus opened for its execution. When 
fairly committed to the purpose, however, the want 
of means and the magnitude of the undertaking al- 
most disheartened me. My original plan embraced 
a canvas sufficiently large for a life-size group of 
the President and entire Cabinet ; to paint such 
a picture would consume many months, perhaps 
years. Enthusiasm alone would never accomplish 
the work. The few friends to whom I should have 
felt at liberty to apply for help were not wealthy. 
Who outside of these could be persuaded that a 
work of the character and proportions contemplated, 
undertaken by an artist of no experience in his- 
torical studies, would not end in utter failure ? 

I had left my home at the usual hour one morn- 
ing, pondering the difficulty which, like Bunyan's 
lions, seemed now to block the way. As one alter- 
native after another presented itself to my mind and 
was rejected, the prospect appeared less and less 
hopeful. I at length found myself in Broadway at 



16 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOU£E. 

the foot of the stairs leading up to my studio. A 
gentleman at this moment attracted my attention, 
standing with his back towards me, looking at some 
pictures exposed in the window of the shop below. 
Detecting, as I thought, something familiar in his 
air and manner, I waited until he turned his face, 
and then found I was not mistaken ; it was an old 
acquaintance who five years before lived near me in 
Brooklyn, engaged in a similar struggle for a liveli- 
hood with myself, though his profession was law 
instead of art. 

We had both changed our residences and had not 
met for years. After a cordial greeting, he ac- 
cepted my invitation to ascend to the studio. I had 
heard that he had been successful in some business 
ventures, but the matter made but little impression 
upon me, and had been forgotten. Suddenly there 
seemed to come into my mind the words : " This 
man has been sent to you." Full of the singular 
impression, I laid before him my conception. He 
heard me through, and then asked if I was sure 
of President Lincoln's consent and cooperation. I 
informed him of the pledge which had been given 
me. " Then," said he, " you shall paint the pict- 
ure. Take plenty of time, — make it the great 
work of your life, — and draw upon me for what- 
ever funds you will require to the end." * 

* To Mr. Samuel Sinclair, of the New York Tribune, for the intro- 
duction to Mr. Lincoln, and to Frederick A. Lane, Esq., of New 
York, for the generous aid thus extended, I shall ever be indebted foi 
the accomplishment of my work. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 17 



VI. 

On the evening of February 4tli, 1864, I went 
to Washington. Shortly after noon of the follow- 
ing day, I rang the bell at Mr. Lovejoy's residence 
on Fifteenth Street. To my sorrow, I found him 
very ill ; but it was hoped by his friends that he 
was then improving. Though very feeble, he in- 
sisted upon seeing me, and calling for writing mate- 
rials, sat up in bed to indite a note introducing 
me to the President. This, handed to me open, I 
read. One expression I have not forgotten, it was 
so like Mr. Lincoln himself, as I afterward came 
to know him. " I am gaining very slowly. — It is 
hard work drawing the sled up-hill." And this 
suggests the similarity there was between these 
men. Lovejoy had much more of the agitator, the 
reformer, in his nature, but both drew the inspira- 
tion of their lives from the same source, and it 
was founded in sterling honesty. Their modes of 
thought and illustration were remarkably alike. 
It is not strange that they should have been bosom 
friends. The President called repeatedly to see him 
during his illness ; and it was on one of these occa- 
sions that he said to him, "This war is eating my 
life out ; I have a strong impression that I shall 
not live to see the end." Mr. Lovejoy's health 
subsequently improved, and for a change he went 
to Brooklyn, N. Y., where, it will be remembered, 

2 



18 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

he had a relapse, and died, universally mourned as 
one of the truest and most faithful of our states- 
men. Mr. Lincoln did not hear from him directly 
after he left Washington. Through a friend I 
learned by letter that he was lying at the point of 
death. This intelligence I communicated to the 
President the same evening, in the vestibule of the 
White House, — meeting him on his way to the 
War Department. He was deeply affected by it. 
His only words were, " Lovejoy was the best friend 
I had in Congress." 

To return from this pardonable digression, — I 
took the note of introduction at once to the White 
House ; but no opportunity was afforded me of 
presenting it during the day. The following morn- 
ing passed with the same result, and I then resolved 
to avail myself of Mrs. Lincoln's Saturday after- 
noon reception — at which, I was told, the President 
would be present — to make myself known to him. 
Two o'clock found me one of the throng pressing 
toward the centre of attraction, the " blue " room. 
From the threshold of the " crimson " parlor as 
I passed, I had a glimpse of the gaunt figure 
of Mr. Lincoln in the distance, haggard - looking, 
dressed in black, relieved only by the prescribed 
white gloves ; standing, it seemed to me, solitary 
and alone, though surrounded by the crowd, bend- 
ing low now and then in the process of hand- 
shaking, and responding half abstractedly to the 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 19 

well-meant greetings of the miscellaneous assem- 
blage. Never shall I forget the electric thrill which 
went through my whole being at this instant. I 
6eemed to see lines radiating from every part of 
the globe, converging to a focus at the point where 
that plain, awkward-looking man stood, and to hear 
in spirit a million prayers, " as the sound of many 
waters," ascending in his behalf. Mingled with 
supplication I could discern a clear symphony of 
triumph and blessing, swelling with an ever-increas- 
ing volume. It was the voice of those who had 
been bondmen and bondwomen, and the grand 
diapason swept up from the coming ages. 

It was soon my privilege, in the regular succes- 
sion, to take that honored hand. Accompanying 
the act, my name and profession were announced 
to him in a low tone by one of the assistant private 
secretaries, who stood by his side. Retaining my 
hand, he looked at me inquiringly for an instant, 
and said, " Oh yes ; I know ; this is the painter." 
Then straightening himself to his full height, with 
a twinkle of the eye, he added, playfully, "Do 
you think, Mr. C , that you can make a hand- 
some picture of me?" emphasizing strongly the 
last word. Somewhat confused at this point-blank 
shot, uttered in a tone so loud as to attract the 
attention of those in immediate proximity, I made 
a random reply, and took the occasion to ask 
if I could see him in his study at the close of 



20 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

the reception. To this he responded in the 
peculiar vernacular of the West, " I reckon," 
resuming meanwhile the mechanical and tradi- 
tional exercise of the hand which no President 
has ever yet been able to avoid, and which, se- 
vere as is the ordeal, is likely to attach to 
the position, so long as the Republic endures. 

VII. 

The appointed hour found me at the well-remem- 
bered door of the official chamber, — that door 
watched daily, with so many conflicting emotions 
of hope and fear, by the anxious throng regularly 
gathered there. The President had preceded me, 
and was already deep in Acts of Congress, with 
which the writing-desk was strewed, awaiting his 
signature. He received me pleasantly, giving me 
a seat near his own arm-chair; and after having 
read Mr. Lovejoy's note, he took off his spectacles, 

and said, "Well, Mr. C , we will turn you 

in loose here, and try to give you a good chance to 
work out your idea." Then, without paying much 
attention to the enthusiastic expression of my am- 
bitious desire and purpose, he proceeded to give me 
a detailed account of the history and issue of the 
great proclamation. 

" It had got to be," said he, "midsummer, 1862. 
Things had gone on from bad to worse, until I felt 
that we had reached the end of our rope on the 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 21 

plan of operations we had been pursuing ; that we 
had about played our last card, and must change 
our tactics, or lose the game ! I now determined 
upon the adoption of the emancipation policy ; and, 
without consultation with, or the knowledge of the 
Cabinet, I prepared the original draft of the proc- 
lamation, and, after much anxious thought, called 
a Cabinet meeting upon the subject. This was the 
last of July, or the first part of the month of August, 
1862." (The exact date he did not remember.) 
" This Cabinet meeting took place, I think, upon a 
Saturday. All were present, excepting Mr. Blair, 
the Postmaster-General, who was absent at the 
opening of the discussion, but came in subse- 
quently. I said to the Cabinet that I had resolved 
upon this step, and had not called them together to 
ask their advice, but to lay the subject-matter of a 
proclamation before them ; suggestions as to which 
would be in order, after they had heard it read. 
Mr. Lovejoy," said he, " was in error when he in- 
formed you that it excited no comment, excepting 
on the part of Secretary Seward. Various sug- 
gestions were offered. Secretary Chase wished the 
language stronger in reference to the arming of the 
blacks. Mr. Blair, after he came in, deprecated the 
policy, on the ground that it would cost the Admin- 
istration the fall elections. Nothing, however, was 
offered that I had not already fully anticipated and 
settled in my own mind, until Secretary Seward 
Bpoke. He said in substance: 'Mr. President, I 



22 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

approve of the proclamation, but I question the ex- 
pediency of its issue at this juncture. The depres- 
sion of the public mind, consequent upon our 
repeated reverses, is so great that I fear the effect 
of so important a step. It may be viewed as the 
last measure of an exhausted government, a cry 
for help ; the government stretching forth its hands 
to Ethiopia, instead of Ethiopia stretching forth her 
hands to the government.' His idea," said the 
President, " was that it would be considered our last 
shrieky on the retreat." (This was his precise ex- 
pression.) " ' Now,' continued Mr. Seward, ' while 
I approve the measure, I suggest, sir, that you post- 
pone its issue, until you can give it to the country 
supported by military success, instead of issuing 
it, as would be the case now, upon the greatest 
disasters of the war ! ' " Mr. Lincoln continued : 
" The wisdom of the view of the Secretary of State 
struck me with very great force. It was an aspect 
of the case that, in all my thought upon the subject, 
I had entirely overlooked. The result was that I 
put the draft of the proclamation aside, as you do 
your sketch for a picture, waiting for a victory. 
From time to time I added or changed a line, 
touching it up here and there, anxiously watching 
the progress of events. Well, the next news we 
had was of Pope's disaster, at- Bull Run. Things 
looked darker than ever. Finally, came the week 
of the battle of Antietam. I determined to wait no 
longer. The news came, I think, on Wednesday, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 23 

tnat the advantage was on our side. I was then 
staying at the Soldiers' Home, (three miles out 
of Washington.) Here I finished writing the sec- 
ond draft of the preliminary proclamation ; came up 
on Saturday ; called the Cabinet together to hear 
it, and it was published the following Monday." 

At the final meeting of September 20th, another 
interesting incident occurred in connection with 
Secretary Seward. The President had written 
the important part of the proclamation in these 
words : — 

" That, on the first day of January, in the year 
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty- 
three, all persons held as slaves within any State 
or designated part of a State, the people whereof 
shall then be in rebellion against the United States, 
shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free ; 
and the Executive Government of the United 
States, including the military and naval authority 
thereof, will recognize the freedom of such persons, 
and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, 
or any of them, in any efforts they may make for 
their actual freedom." " When 1 finished read- 
ing this paragraph," resumed Mr. Lincoln, " Mr. 
Seward stopped me, and said, ' I think, Mr. Pres- 
ident, that you should insert after the word " recog- 
nize" in that sentence, the words " and maintain." ' 
I replied that I had already fully considered the 
import of that expression in this connection, but I 
had not introduced it, because it was not my way 



24 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

to promise what I was not entirely sure that 1 
could perform, and I was not prepared to say thai 
I thought we were exactly able to ' maintain ' this." 

" But," said he, " Seward insisted that we ought 
to take this ground ; and the words finally went 
in ! " 

"It is a somewhat remarkable fact," he subse- 
quently remarked, " that there were just one hun- 
dred days between the dates of the two proclama- 
tions issued upon the 22d of September and the 
1st of January. I had not made the calculation 
at the time." 

Having concluded this interesting statement, the 
President then proceeded to show me the various 
positions occupied by himself and the different 
members of the Cabinet, on the occasion of the first 
meeting. " As nearly as I remember," said he, " I 
sat near the head of the table ; the Secretary of the 
Treasury and the Secretary of War were here, at 
my right hand ; the others were grouped at the 
left." 

At this point, I exhibited to him a pencil sketch 
of the composition as I had conceived it, with no 
knowledge of the facts or details. The leading 
idea of this I found, as I have stated on a previous 
page, to be entirely consistent with the account I 
had just heard. I saw, however, that I should 
have to reverse the picture, placing the President 
at the other end of the table, to make it accord 
with his description. I had resolved to discard all 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 25 

appliances and tricks of picture-making, and en- 
deavor, as faithfully as possible, to represent the 
scene as it actually transpired ; room, furniture, 
accessories, all were to be painted from the actual- 
ities. It was a scene second only in historical im- 
portance and interest to that of the Declaration 
of Independence ; and I felt assured, that, if hon- 
estly and earnestly painted, it need borrow no in- 
terest from imaginary curtain or column, gorgeous 
furniture or allegorical statue. Assenting heartily 
to what is called the u realistic" school of art, 
when applied to the illustration of historic events, 
I felt in this case, that I had no more right to de- 
part from the facts, than has the historian in his 
record. 

When friends said to me, as they frequently did, 
" Your picture will be bald and barren," my re- 
ply was, " If I cannot make the portraiture of the 
scene itself sufficiently attractive without the false 
glitter of tapestry hangings, velvet table-cloths, and 
marble columns, then I shall at least have the satis- 
faction of having failed in the cause of truth." I 
reasoned in this way: The most important docu- 
ment submitted to a cabinet during our existence 
as a nation is under discussion. A spectator per- 
mitted to look in upon that scene would give little 
thought and small heed to the mere accessories and 
adjuncts of the occasion. His mind would centre 
upon the immortal document, — its anxious author, 
conscious of his solemn responsibility, announcing 



26 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

his matured and inflexible purpose to his assem- 
bled councillors. He would listen with vanpar- 
alleled eagerness to the momentous sentences 
uttered for the first time in the ears of men, and 
to the discussion upon them, impatient of mere 
formalities and technicalities. Should a thought be 
sprung of important bearing, or an overlooked con- 
tingency be brought forward, how intently would 
its effect be watched. What varying emotions, 
consequent upon peculiarities of temperament and 
character, would be expressed in the countenances 
of the different individuals composing the group. 
How each in turn would be scanned. Above all, the 
issues involved : — the salvation of the Republic — 
the freedom of a Race. " Surely," I said, " such a 
scene may be painted, and abiding if not absorbing 
interest secured, without the aid of conventional 
trappings. The republican simplicity of the room 
and furniture, with its thronging associations, will 
more than counterbalance the lack of splendor, and 
the artistic mania for effect. I will depend solely 
for my success upon the interest of the subject, 
and its truthfulness of representation." And this 
purpose I carried with me to the end. 

VIII. 

The first sketch of the composition, as it was 
afterward placed upon the canvas, was matured, I 
believe, the same afternoon, or the following Mon- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 27 

day after the interview recorded above, upon the 
back of a visiting card ; my pockets affording evi- 
dence of the employment of all loose material at 
hand in leisure moments, in the study of the 
work. The final arrangement of the figures was 
the result of much thought and many combina- 
tions, though the original conception as to the 
moment of time and incident of action was pre- 
served throughout. The general arrangement of 
the group, as described by the President, was for- 
tunately entirely consistent with my purpose, which 
was to give that prominence to the different indi- 
viduals which belonged to them respectively in the 
Administration. There was a curious mingling of 
fact and allegory in my mind, as I assigned to each 
his place on the canvas. There were two elements 
in the Cabinet, the radical and the conservative. 
Mr. Lincoln was placed at the head of the offi- 
cial table, between two groups, nearest that repre- 
senting the radical, but the uniting point of both. 
The chief powers of a government are War and 
Finance : the ministers of these were at his right, 
— the Secretary of War, symbolizing the great 
struggle, in the immediate foreground ; the Sec- 
retary of the Treasury, actively supporting the 
new policy, standing by the President's side. The 
Army being the right hand, the Navy may very 
properly be styled the left hand of the govern- 
ment. The place for the Secretary of the Navy 
Beemed, therefore, very naturally to be on Mr. Lin- 



28 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

coin's left, at the rear of the table. To the Secretary 
of State, as the great expounder of the principles of 
the Republican party, the profound and sagacious 
statesman, would the attention of all at such a time 
be given. Entitled to precedence in discussion by 
his position in the Cabinet, he would necessarily form 
one of the central figures of the group. The four 
chief officers of the government were thus brought, 
in accordance with their relations to the Admin- 
istration, nearest the person of the President, who, 
with the manuscript proclamation in hand, which 
he had just read, was represented leaning forward, 
listening to, and intently considering the views pre- 
sented by the Secretary of State. The Attorney- 
General, absorbed in the constitutional questions 
involved, with folded arms, was placed at the foot 
of the table opposite the President. The Secre- 
tary of the Interior and the Postmaster-General, 
occupying the less conspicuous positions of the 
Cabinet, seemed to take their proper places in the 
background of the picture. 

When, at length, the conception as thus de- 
scribed was sketched upon the large canvas, and 
Mr. Lincoln came in to see it, his gratifying re- 
mark, often subsequently repeated, was, " It is as 
good as it can be made." 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 29 

IX. 

I have thus revealed, step by step, the mental 
process by which the picture of which I write 
came into being. Whether the story bears any 
analogy to that by which the works of others have 
been produced, or the composition conforms to 
established rules and precedents in art or not, is to 
me a matter of indifference. I was true to my 
intuitions, and endeavored to adhere as faithfully as 
practicable to the facts. 

It is not my purpose to follow in detail the 
progress, thenceforward, of the work. As the 
thread upon which are strung my memories of 
the late President, allusions to it will be unavoid- 
able throughout these pages ; but hereafter I in- 
tend that they shall be subordinate and incidental 
to matters of more general interest. It is not too 
much to say that the enthusiasm in which the work 
was conceived, flagged not to the end. The days 
were too short for labor upon it. Lighting at 
nightfall the great chandelier of the state dining- 
room, which was finally assigned me for a studio 
instead of the library, where the windows were 
shaded by the portico, the morning light frequently 
broke in upon me still standing pencil or palette 
in hand, before the immense canvas, unable to 
break the spell which bound me to it. 



30 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 



" We will turn you in loose here," proved 
an " open sesame " to me during the subsequent 
months of my occupation at the White House. 
My access to the official chamber was made nearly 
as free as that of the private secretaries, unless 
soecial business w r as being transacted. Sometimes 
a stranger, approaching the President with a low 
tone, would turn an inquiring eye toward the 
place where I sat, absorbed frequently in a pencil 
sketch of some object in the room. This would be 
met by the hearty tones of Mr. Lincoln, — I can 
hear them yet ringing in my ears, — " Oh, you 
need not mind him ; he is but a painter." There 
was a satisfaction to me, differing from that of any 
other experience, in simply sitting with him. Ab- 
sorbed in his papers, he would become unconscious 
of my presence, while I intently studied every line 
and shade of expression in that furrowed face. In 
repose, it was the saddest face I ever knew. There 
were days when I could scarcely look into it with- 
out crying. During the first week of the battles of 
the Wilderness he scarcely slept at all. Passing 
through the main hall of the domestic apartment 
on one of these days, I met him, clad in a long 
morning wrapper, pacing back and forth a narrow 
passage leading to one of the windows, his hands 
behind him, great black rings under his eyes, his 
head bent forward ax^on his breast, — altogether 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 31 

such a picture of the effects of sorrow, care, and 
anxiety as would have melted the hearts of the 
worst of his adversaries, who so mistakenly ap- 
plied to him the epithets of tyrant and usurper. 
With a sorrow almost divine, he, too, could have 
said of the rebellious States, " How often would I 
have gathered you together, even as a hen gath- 
ereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would 
not!" Like another Jeremiah, he wept over the 
desolations of the nation ; " he mourned the slain 
of the daughter of his people." 

Surely, ruler never manifested so much sympa- 
thy, and tenderness, and charity. How like the 
last words of the Divine one himself, " Father, for- 
give them, for they know not what they do," will 
the closing sentences of his last inaugural address 
resound in solemn cadence through the coming 
centuries. Truly and well says the London " Spec- 
tator" of that address: " We cannot read it with- 
out a renewed conviction that it is the noblest polit- 
ical document known to history, and should have 
for the nation and the statesmen he left behind 
him something of a sacred and almost prophetic 
character. Surely, none was ever written under a 
stronger sense of the reality of God's government. 
And certainly none written in a period of passion- 
ate conflict ever so completely excluded the par- 
tiality of victorious faction, and breathed so pure 
a strain of mingled justice and mercy." 



32 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

XI. 

The following Tuesday I spent with Mr. Lin- 
coln in his study. The morning was devoted to 
the Judge - Advocate - General, who had a large 
number of court-martial cases to submit to the 
President. Never had I realized what it was to 
have power, as on this occasion. As case after 
case was presented to Mr. Lincoln, one stroke of 
his pen confirmed or commuted the sentence of 
death. In several instances Judge Holt referred 
to extenuating circumstances, — extreme youth, 
previous good conduct, or recommendations to 
mercy. Every excuse of this kind, having a foun- 
dation in fact, was instantly seized upon by the 
President, who, taking the document containing the 
sentence, would write upon the back of it the 
lightest penalty consistent with any degree of jus- 
tice. As he added the date to one of these papers, 
he remarked casually, varying the subject of con- 
versation, " Does your mind, Judge Holt, associate 
events with dates ? Every time this morning that 
I have had occasion to write the day of the month, 
the thought has come up, ' This was General Har- 
rison's birthday.' " One of the cases brought for- 
ward at this time I recollect distinctly. The man's 
name was Burroughs ; he had been a notorious spy ; 
convicted and sentenced to death, a strong effort 
had been made in his behalf by powerful friends. 
It was an aggravated case, but an impression had 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 33 

evidently been made upon the President by the 
strength and pertinacity of the appeal. As Judge 
Holt opened the record, he stated that a short time 
previous Burroughs had attempted to escape from 
confinement, and was shot dead in the act by the 
sentinel on guard. With an expression of relief, 
Mr. Lincoln rejoined, " I ought to be obliged to 
him for taking his fate into his own hands ; he has 
saved me a deal of trouble." 

During a brief absence of the President, Judge 
Holt told me that the atrocities of some of the 
criminals condemned, surpassed belief. " A gue- 
rilla leader in Missouri," said he, " by the name 
of Nichols, was in the habit of filling the ears of 
wounded Unionists who fell into his hands w r ith 
gunpowder, setting fire to it, and blowing their 
heads to pieces. When captured, a number of hu- 
man ears were found upon his person." Referring 
to Mr. Lincoln's disposition to pardon or commute 
the majority of the death sentences, he remarked, 
" The President is without exception the most ten- 
der-hearted man I ever knew." 

Judge Holt, it will be remembered, was called 
into Mr. Buchanan's cabinet towards the close of 
his administration. Glancing around the room, — 
incidentally referring to my errand there, — he 
said, " This room was the theatre of some very 
exciting scenes during the last months of Mr. Bu- 
chanan's term." He spoke warmly of the cour- 
age and fearlessness of Stanton, on those occasions, 



34 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE 

who did not hesitate to call traitors and treason by 
their right names. 

When the clock struck twelve, Mr. Lincoln 
drew back from the table, and with a stretch of his 
long arms, remarked, " I guess we will go no far- 
ther with these cases to-day ; I am a little tired, 
and the Cabinet will be coming in soon." " I be- 
lieve, by the by," he added, " that I have not yet 
had my breakfast, — this business has been so ab- 
sorbing that it has crowded everything else out of 
my mind." 

And so ended the work of one morning ; simple 
in its detail, but pregnant with hope and joy, dark- 
ness and death, to many human beings. 

XII. 

As the different members of the Cabinet came 
in, the President introduced me, adding in several 
instances, — " He has an idea of painting a picture 
of us all together." This, of course, started con- 
versation on the topic of art. Presently a reference 
was made by some one to Jones, the sculptor, 
whose bust of Mr. Lincoln was in the crimson 
parlor below. The President, I think, was writing 
at this instant. Looking up, he said, " Jones tells 
a goocl story of General Scott, of w T hom he once 
made a bust. Having a fine subject to start with, 
he succeeded in giving great satisfaction. At the 
closing sitting he attempted to define and elab- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 35 

orate the lines and markings of the face. The 
General sat patiently ; but when he came to see 
the result, his countenance indicated decided dis- 
pleasure. ' Why, Jones, what have you been do- 
ing?' he asked. ' Oh,' rejoined the sculptor, 'not 
much, I confess, General; I have been working 
out the details of the face a little more, this morn- 
ing.' 'Details?' exclaimed the General, warmly; 
1 the details ! Why, my man, you are spoil- 
ing the bust ! ' " 

At three o'clock the President was to accompany 
me, by appointment, to Brady's photographic gal- 
leries on Pennsylvania Avenue. The carriage had 
been ordered, and Mrs. Lincoln, who was to accom- 
pany us, had come down at the appointed hour, 
dressed for the ride, when one of those vexations, 
incident to all households, occurred. Neither car- 
riage or coachman was to be seen. The President 
and myself stood upon the threshold of the door 
under the portico, awaiting the result of the in- 
quiry for the coachman, when a letter was put 
into his hand. While he was reading this, people 
were passing, as is customary, up and down the 
promenade, w T hich leads through the grounds to the 
War Department, crossing, of course, the portico. 
My attention was attracted to an approaching party, 
apparently a countryman, plainly dressed, with his 
wife and two little boys, who had evidently been 
straying about, looking at the places of public inter- 
est in the city. As they reached the portico, the 



36 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

father, who was in advance, caught sight of the tall 
figure of Mr. Lincoln, absorbed in his letter. His 
wife and the little boys were ascending the steps. 
The man stopped suddenly, put out his hand with 
a " hush " to his family, and, after a moment's 
gaze, he bent down and whispered to them, — 
" There is the President ! " Then leaving them, 
he slowly made a half circuit around Mr. Lincoln, 
watching him intently all the while. At this point, 
having finished his letter, the President turned to 
me, and said : " Well, we will not wait any longer 
for the carriage ; it won't hurt you and me to 
walk down." The countryman here approached 
very diffidently, and asked if he might be allowed 
to take the President by the hand; after which, 
" Would he extend the same privilege to his wife 
and little boys ? " Mr. Lincoln good-naturedly ap- 
proached the latter, who had remained where they 
were stopped, and, reaching down, said a kind 
word to the bashful little fellows, who shrank 
close up to their mother, and did not reply. This 
simple act filled the father's cup full. " The Lord 
is with you, Mr. President," he said reverently; 
and then, hesitating a moment, he added, with 
strong emphasis, " and the people too, sir ; and the 
people too ! " 

The walk, of a mile or more, was made very 
agreeable and interesting to me by a variety of 
stories, of which Mr. Lincoln's mind was so pro- 
lific. Something was said soon after we started 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 37 

about the penalty which attached to high positions 
in a democratic government — the tribute those 
filling them were compelled to pay to the pub- 
lic. " Great men," said Mr. Lincoln, " have vari- 
ous estimates. When Daniel Webster made his 
tour through the West years ago, he visited Spring- 
field among other places, where great preparations 
had been made to receive him. As the procession 
was going through the town, a barefooted little 
darkey boy pulled the sleeve of a man named T., 
and asked, — ' What the folks were all doing down 
the street ? ' ' Why, Jack,' was the reply, ' the 
biggest man in the world is coming.' Now, there 
lived in Springfield a man by the name of G., — a 
very corpulent man. Jack darted off down the 
street, but presently returned, with a very disap- 
pointed air. ; Well, did you see him ? ' inquired T. 
1 Yees,' returned Jack ; 4 but laws — he ain't half as 
big as old G.' " 

Shortly afterward, he spoke of Mr. Ewing, who 
was in both President Harrison's and President 
Taylor's cabinet. " Those men," said he, " were, 
you know, when elected, both of advanced years, 
— sages. Ewing had received, in some way, the 
nickname of < Old Solitude.' Soon after the for- 
mation of Taylor's cabinet, Webster and Ewing 
happened to meet at an evening party. As they 
approached each other, Webster, who was in fine 
spirits, uttered, in his deepest bass tones, the well- 
known lines, — 



38 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

" * O Solitude, where are the charms 
That sages have seen in thy face ? ' " 

The evening of Tuesday I dined with Mr, 
Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, of whom I 
painted a portrait in 1855, upon the close of his 
term as United States Senator. He said during 
the dinner, that, shortly after the dedication of the 
cemetery at Gettysburg, the President told this 
story at a cabinet meeting. " Thad. Stevens was 
asked by some one, the morning of the day ap- 
pointed for that ceremony, where the President 
and Mr. Seward were going, f To Gettysburg,' 
was the reply. ■ But where are Stanton and 
Chase ? ' continued the questioner. ' At home, 
at work,' was the surly answer; 'let the dead 
bury the dead.' " This was some months pre- 
vious to the Baltimore Convention, when it was 
thought by some of the leaders of the party, that 
Mr. Lincoln's chances for a re-nomination were 
somewhat dubious. 

Levee night occurring weekly, during the 
regular season, was always a trying one to the 
President. Whenever sympathy was expressed 
for him, however, he would turn it off playfully, 
asserting that the tug at his hand was much 
easier to bear than that upon his heartstrings for 
all manner of favors beyond his power to grant, to 
which he had daily to submit. As I took his hand 
at the levee, which closed my first day's experi- 
ences with him, he said in his homely way, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 39 

u Well, C, you have seen one day's run; — what 
is your opinion of it ? " 



XIII. 

Wednesday morning was devoted to the contin- 
ued examination of the court-martial cases, to the 
great vexation of a score of political applicants, 
whom I could hear impatiently pacing the floor of 
the hall and waiting-room. At one o'clock, how- 
ever, the doors were thrown open, and the throng 
admitted and dismissed, as rapidly as possible. I 
was much amused and interested, later in the day, 
in a variety of characters who presented them- 
selves. First was an elderly lady, plainly but 
comfortably dressed, whose son was a prisoner in 
Baltimore. Her story, spun out to some length, 
was briefly this : Her son had been s .serving in the 
Rebel army. He heard that his sister was lying 
dead at home, and his mother at the supposed 
point of death. He determined to see them, and 
succeeded in getting through our lines undiscov- 
ered. He found his mother better. Before he got 
ready o return, he became very ill himself. She 
said she hid him in the house until he recovered, 
and on his way back to his regiment he was cap- 
tured. He was now anxious to take the oath, 
and his mother assured the President that he 
should henceforth "have nothing to do with the 
Rebels." Mr. Lincoln sat quietly through the story, 



40 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

his face in half shadow. As she finished he said, 
with some impatience, — "Now this is a pretty story 
to come to me with, isn't it? Your son came 
home from fighting against his country ; he was 
sick ; you secreted him, nursed him up, and when 
cured, started him off again to help destroy some 
more of our boys. Taken prisoner, trying to get 
through our lines, you now want me to let him off 
upon his oath." " Yes," said the woman, not in 
the least disconcerted, " and I give you my word, 
Mr. President, he shall never have anything more 
to do with the Rebels — never — I was always 
opposed to his joining them." " Your word," re- 
joined Mr. Lincoln dryly, " what do I know about 
your word ? " He finally took the application, and 
writing something upon the back of it, returned it 
to her with the words, " Now, I want you to un- 
derstand that I have done this just to get rid of 
you ! " " Oh," said she, " Mr. President, 1 have 
always heard that you were such a kind-hearted 
man, and now I know it is true." And so, with 
much apparent satisfaction, she withdrew. 

The party that followed consisted of a lady and 
two gentlemen. She had come to ask that her 
husband, who was also a prisoner of war, might 
be permitted to take the oath and be released from 
confinement. To secure a degree of interest on 
the part of the President, one of the gentlemen 
claimed to be an acquaintance of Mrs. Lincoln ; 
this, however, received but little attention, an 1 the 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 41 

President proceeded to ask what position the lady's 
husband held in the Rebel service. " Oh," said 
she, " he was a captain." "A captain!" rejoined 
Mr. Lincoln, "indeed ! — rather too big a fish to set 
free simply upon his taking the oath. If he was 
an officer, it is proof positive that he has been a 
zealous rebel ; I cannot release him." Here the 
lady's friend reiterated the assertion of his acquaint- 
ance with Mrs. Lincoln. Instantly the President's 
hand was upon the bell-rope. The usher in attend- 
ance answered the summons. " Cornelius, take 
this man's name to Mrs. Lincoln, and ask her what 
she knows of him." The boy presently returned, 
with the reply that " the Madam " (as she was 
called by the servants) knew nothing of him what- 
ever. The man said it was very strange. " Well, 
it is just as I suspected," said the President. The 
party made one more attempt to enlist his sym- 
pathy, but without effect. " It is of no use," was 
the reply ; " I cannot release him ; " and the trio 
withdrew, 'the lady in high displeasure. 

Next came a Methodist minister by the name of 
" G.," claiming to be the son of the inventor of 
iron-clad gunboats. He had understood that the 
President appointed the hospital chaplains, and he 
greatly desired such a place. Mr. Lincoln re- 
plied rather curtly, that he could do nothing for 
him. " But I was told, sir, that these appointments 
were made by the President," said the gentleman, 
very respectfully. " I will just tell you how that 



42 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

is," was the answer ; " when there are vacancies I 
appoint, not without." The clergyman here alluded 
to his having left with the private secretary a war- 
sermon which he had lately preached. Stepping 
out, he returned with the pamphlet, saying, as he 
handed it to the President, "I suppose, sir, you 
have little time to read anything of this kind ; but I 
shall be very glad to leave it with you." Upon 
this he bowed himself out, and the sermon was 
carelessly tossed aside, never to be thought of again 
by Mr. Lincoln. 

Subsequently the sermon fell into my hands. The 
only thing I remember about it was the practi- 
cal application of a professional incident. The 
clergyman one day fell in with two soldiers fighting. 
One had the other down, and was severely hand- 
Ling him. Rebuking the men, the one underneath 
responded very heartily, " Plase your riverince, I 
am willing to give up this minute, solely out of 
respect for your riverince" And so the preacher 
thought the South should be made to say " in re- 
gard to the Constitution." 

XIV. 

The examples given of the observations of two 
days, are fair illustrations of the usual White 
House routine, varied of course by official or dip- 
lomatic business, and a greater or less pressure of 
visitors, some of whom would linger in the anteroom 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 43 

day after day, waiting admission. The incidents of 
no two days could of course be alike. I shall never 
cease to regret that an additional private secretary 
could not have been appointed, whose exclusive 
duty it should have been to look after and keep a 
record of all cases appealing to executive clemency. 
It would have afforded full employment for one 
man, at least ; and such a volume would now be 
beyond all price. 

Just before leaving for Washington, I met a 
brother artist, who, upon learning of my proposed 
purpose, laid before me the details of an interest- 
ing case, concerning his only son, begging me to 
bring the circumstances to the President's knowl- 
edge. When the war broke out the young man 
in question was living at the South. Eventually 
driven into the Rebel service, he was improving his 
first opportunity to go over to the Union lines, 
when he was taken prisoner. His story was disbe- 
lieved, and he had been in prison for more than a 
year at Alton, Illinois. His father had spent many 
months in the endeavor to have him released, with- 
out success. So many formalities and technicalities 
were in the way that he became completely dis- 
couraged, and appealed to me as his last hope. 
The boy was very ill, and he feared if not speedily 
released, would soon die. Promising the father 
that I would bear the case in mind, I improved an 
opportunity, as soon as I felt sure of having found 
favor with the President, to speak to him about it. 



44 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

I believe it was on the private staircase, that, meet- 
ing him one evening, I ventured to introduce the 
subject. I assured him of the entire good faith 
and loyalty of both father and son. Of course he 
had never heard of the case before. Considering 
the subject a moment, he said, " Come up-stairs 
by-and-by, and I guess we can fix it up." 

An hour later I entered his room, and gave him 
very briefly the particulars of the case ; reading 
one or two letters from the young man to his 
father. " That will do," said the President, put- 
ting on his spectacles, and taking the letter out of 
my hand, he turned it over and wrote on the back 
of it, " Release this man upon his taking the oath. 
A. Lincoln." "There," said he, "you can take 
that over to the War Department yourself, if you 
choose. You will find it all right." 



XV. 

Wednesday night, February 10th, was an excit- 
ing one at the White House, the stables belonging 
to the mansion being burned to the ground. The 
loss most severely felt was of the two ponies, one 
of which had belonged to Willie Lincoln, the 
President's second son, who died in 1862, and 
the other to Tad, the youngest, and pet of his 
father, who in his infancy nicknamed him Tad- 
pole, subsequently abbreviated to Taddie, and 
then Tad. His real name is Thomas, named 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 45 

for the father of Mr. Lincoln. Upon " Tad's" 
learning of the loss, he threw himself at full length 
upon the floor, and could not be comforted. The 
only allusion I ever heard the President make to 
Willie was on this occasion, in connection with 
the loss of his pony. John Hay, the assistant pri- 
vate secretary, told me that he was rarely known 
to speak of his lost son. 

The morning following the fire, Robert Lincoln 
came into his father's office, and said he had a point 
of law which he wished to submit. It appeared 
that one of the coachmen had two or three hundred 
dollars in greenbacks in his room over the sta- 
bles, which were consumed. Robert said that he 
and John Hay had been having an argument as to 
the liability of the government for its notes, where 
it could be shown that they had been burned, or 
otherwise destroyed. The President turned the 
matter over in his mind for a moment, and said, 
" The payment of a note presupposes its presenta- 
tion to the maker of it. It is the sign or symbol 
of value received ; it is not value itself, that is 
clear. At the same time the production of the note 
seems a necessary warrant for the demand ; and 
while the moral obligation is as strong without this, 
governments and banking institutions do not recog- 
nize any principle beyond the strictly legal. It is 
an established rule that the citizen cannot sue 
the government ; therefore, I don't see but that 
it is a dead loss for Jehu." 



46 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

About this time a couple of Kentucky gentlemen 
called. As they rose to take leave, one of them, 
who may have noticed little Tad, — as he usu- 
ally spent much time in his father's office, — said to 
the President : " General Crittenden told me an 
interesting incident about his son, eight or nine 
years old, a few days since. A day or two after 
the battle of Chickamauga, the little fellow came 
into camp. The General rode during the battle a 
horse which went by the name of John Jay, a 
great favorite with his son. Manifesting his de- 
light upon again seeing his father, by covering him 
with caresses, the child at length said, ' Papa, where 
is John Jay ? ' ' Oh,' said his father, ' your 
horse behaved very badly during the fight; he 
insisted, very cowardly, upon taking me to the 
rear.' The little fellow's eyes sparkled. ' Papa,' 
said he, 'I know John Jay would never have 
1 one that of his own will. It must have been your 
work.'" 

Montgomery Blair told me that when the con- 
vention which nominated Mr. Lincoln met at Chi- 
cago, there was a hideous painting in the hall which 
was brought forward subsequently as a likeness of 
the nominee. Most of the delegates having never 
seen the original, the effect upon them was indescrib- 
able. I replied to Mr. Blair that my friend Brady, 
the photographer, insisted that his photograph of 
Mr. Lincoln, taken the morning of the day he 
made his Cooper Institute speech in New York, — 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 47 

much the best portrait, by the way, in circulation 
of him during the campaign, — was the means of 
his election. That it helped largely to this end 
I do not doubt. The effect of such influences, 
though silent, is powerful. Fremont once said to 
me, that the villanous wood-cut published by the 
New York " Tribune," the next day after his nomi- 
nation, lost him twenty-five votes in one township, 
to his certain knowledge. 

On one of the last days of February, I called, 

with my friend W , of New York, upon Mr. 

Lovejoy, who was supposed to be convalescent. 
He thought himself nearly well again, and was in 
fine spirits. Indications of an organized movement 
to bring forward Fremont, as an opposition candi- 
date to Mr. Lincoln, had recently appeared. Mr. 
Lovejoy was very severe upon it ; he said, " Any 
attempt to divide the party at such a time was 
criminal in the last degree." I remember observ- 
ing that many of the extreme anti-slavery men ap- 
peared to distrust the President. This drew out 
his indignant condemnation. "I tell you," said he, 
" Mr. Lincoln is at heart as strong an anti-slavery 
man as any of them, but he is compelled to feel 
his way. He has a responsibility in this matter 
which many men do not seem to be able to com- 
prehend. I say to you frankly, that I believe his 
course to be right. His mind acts slowly, but when 
lie moves, it is forward. You will never find him 
receding from a position once taken. It is of no 



48 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

use talking, or getting up conventions against him. 
He is going to be the candidate of the Baltimore 
Convention, and is sure to be reelected. ' It was 
foreordained from the foundation of the world.' 
I have no sympathy or patience with those who 
are trying to manufacture issues against him ; but 
they will not succeed ; he is too strong with the 
masses. For my part," he concluded, " I am not 
only willing to take Mr. Lincoln for another term, 
but the same cabinet, right straight through." 



XVI. 

Wednesday, March 2d, I had an unusually 
long and interesting sitting from the President. 
I invited Mr. Samuel Sinclair, of New York, 
who was in Washington, to be present. The news 
had recently been received of the disaster under 
General Seymour in Florida. Many newspapers 
openly charged the President with having sent the 
expedition with primary reference to restoring the 
State in season to secure its vote at the forthcom- 
ing Baltimore Convention. Mr. Lincoln was deeply 
wounded by these charges. He referred to them 
during the sitting ; and gave a simple and truthful 
statement of the affair, which was planned, if I re- 
member rightly, by General Gillmore. A few days 
afterward, an editorial appeared in the New York 
** Tribune," which was known not to favor Mr. Lin- 
coln's renomination, entirely exonerating him from 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 49 

all blame. I took the article to him in his study, 
and he expressed much gratification at its candor. 
It was, perhaps, in connection with the newspaper 
attacks, that he told, during the sitting, this story. 
— "A traveller on the frontier found himself out of 
his reckoning one night in a most inhospitable re- 
gion. A terrific thunder-storm came up, to add to 
his trouble. He floundered along until his horse at 
length gave out. The lightning afforded him the 
only clew to his way, but the peals of thunder were 
frightful. One bolt, which seemed to crash the 
earth beneath him, brought him to his knees. By 
no means a praying man, his petition was short 
and to the point, — " O Lord, if it is all the same 
to you, give us a little more light and a little less 
noise ! " 

Presently the conversation turned upon Shak- 
speare, of whom it is well known Mr. Lincoln 
was very fond. He once remarked, " It matters 
not to me whether Shakspeare be well or ill acted ; 
with him the thought suffices." Edwin Booth was 
playing an engagement at this time at Grover's 
Theatre. He had been announced for the coming 
evening in his famous part of Hamlet. The 
President had never witnessed his representation of 
this character, and he proposed being present. The 
nention of this play, which I afterward learned 
had at all times a peculiar charm for Mr. Lincoln's 
mind, waked up a train of thought I w T as not pre- 
pared for. Said he, — and his words have often 



50 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

returned to me with a sad interest since his own 
assassination, — " There is one passage of the play 
of "Hamlet" which is very apt to be slurred over by 
the actor, or omitted altogether, which seems to me 
the choicest part of the play. It is the soliloquy 
of the king, after the murder. It always struck 
me as one of the finest touches of nature in the 
world." 

Then, throwing himself into the very spirit of 
the scene, he took up the words : — 

" O my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; 
It hath the primal eldest curse upon 't, 
A brother's murder ! — Pray can I not, 
Though inclination be as sharp as will; 
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent ; 
And, like a man to double business bound, 
I stand in pause where I shall first begin, 
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand 
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood? 
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens 
To wash it white as snow ? Whereto serves mercy 
But to confront the visage of offence ; 
And what's in prayer but this twofold force — 
To be forestalled ere we come to fall, 
Or pardoned, being down ? Then I '11 look up; 
My fault is past. But O what form of prayer 
Can serve my turn ? Forgive me my foul murder ? — » 
That cannot be ; since I am still possessed 
Of those effects for which I did the murder, — 
My crown, my own ambition, and my queen. 

May one be pardoned and retain the offence ? 
In the corrupted currents of this world, 
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice, 
And oft 't is seen the wicked prize itself 
Buys out the law ; but 't is not so above. 
There is no shuffling; there the action lies 
In its true nature ; and we ourselves compelled, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 51 

Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults, 
To give in evidence. What then? what rests? 
Try what repentance can ; what can it not ? 
Tet what can it when one cannot repent ? 

O wretched state ! O bosom black as death ! 
bruised soul that, struggling to be free, 
Art' more engaged ! Help, angels, make assay ! 
Bow, stubborn knees ! And heart with strings of steel, 
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe ; 
All may be well ! " 

He repeated this entire passage from memory, 
with a feeling and appreciation unsurpassed by any- 
thing I ever witnessed upon the stage. Remaining 
in thought for a few moments, he continued : — 

" The opening of the play of ' King Richard the 
Third' seems to me often entirely misapprehended. 
It is quite common for an actor to come upon the 
stage, and, in a sophomoric style, to begin with a 
flourish : — 

" * Now is the winter of our discontent 

Made glorious summer by this sun of York, 
And all the clouds that lowered upon our house, 
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried ! ' 

Now," said he, "this is all wrong. Richard, you 
remember, had been, and was then, plotting the 
destruction of his brothers, to make room for him- 
self. Outwardly, the most loyal to the newly 
crowned king, secretly he could scarcely contain 
his impatience at the obstacles still in the way 
of his own elevation. He appears upon the stage, 
just after the crowning of Edward, burning with 
repressed hate and jealousy. The prologue is the 
atterance of the most intense bitterness and satire." 



52 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Then, unconsciously assuming the character, Mr. 
Lincoln repeated, also from memory, Richard's 
soliloquy, rendering it with a degree of force and 
power that made it seem like a new creation to me. 
Though familiar with the passage from boyhood, I 
can truly say that never till that moment had I 
fully appreciated its spirit. I could not refrain 
from laying down my palette and brushes, and ap- 
plauding heartily, upon his conclusion, saying, at 
the same time, half in earnest, that I was not 
sure but that he had made a mistake in the choice 
s>( a profession, considerably, as may be imagined, 
to his amusement. Mr. Sinclair has since repeat- 
edly said to me that he never heard these choice 
passages of Shakspeare rendered with more effect 
by the most famous of modern actors. 

Mr. Lincoln's memory was very remarkable. 
With the multitude of visitors whom he saw daily, 
I was often amazed at the readiness with which he 
recalled faces and events and even names. At 
one of the afternoon receptions, a stranger 
shook hands with him, and, as he did so, re- 
marked, casually, that he was elected to Congress 
about the time Mr. Lincoln's term as representa- 
tive expired. "Yes," said the President, "you 
are from ," mentioning the State. "I remem- 
ber reading of your election in a newspaper one 
morning on a steamboat going down to Mount Ver- 
non." At another time a gentleman addressed him, 
saying, " I presume, Mr. President, that you have 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 53 

forgotten me ? " " No," was the prompt reply ; 
"your name is Flood. I saw you last, twelve 
years ago, at ," naming the place and the oc- 
casion. " I am glad to see," he continued, "that 
the Flood flows on." Subsequent to his reelection 
a deputation of bankers from various sections were 
introduced one day by the Secretary of the Treas- 
ury. After a few moments' general conversation, 
Mr. Lincoln turned to one of them, and said : 
• Your district did not give me so strong a vote 
at the last election as it did in 1860." " I think, 
sir, that you must be mistaken," replied the 
banker. " I have the impression that your ma- 
jority was considerably increased at the last elec- 
tion." " No," rejoined the President, " you fell 
off about six hundred votes." Then taking down 
from the bookcase the official canvass of 1860 
and 1864, he referred to the vote of the district 
named, and proved to be quite right in his asser- 
tion. 

During this interview, — related to me by one 

of the party, Mr. P , of Chelsea, Mass., — a 

member of the delegation referred to the severity 
of the tax laid by Congress upon the State Banks. 
" Now," said Mr. Lincoln, " that reminds me of a 
circumstance that took place in a neighborhood 
where I lived when I was a boy. In the spring of 
the year the farmers were very fond of the dish 
which they called greens, though the fashionable 
name for it nowadays is spinach, I believe. One day 



54 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

after dinner, a large family were taken very ill. 
The doctor was called in, who attributed it to the 
greens, of which all had freely partaken. Living 
in the family was a half-witted boy named Jake. 
On a subsequent occasion, when greens had 
been gathered for dinner, the head of the house 
said : ' Now, boys, before running any further risk 
in this thing, we will first try them on Jake. If he 
stands it, we are all right.' And just so, I sup- 
pose," said Mr. Lincoln, " Congress thought of 
the State Banks!" 



XVII. 

While sitting one day, Secretary Stanton — 
whom I usually found quite taciturn — referred 
to the meeting of the Buchanan Cabinet called 
upon receipt of the news that Colonel Anderson had 
evacuated Moultrie, and gone into Fort Sumter. 
" This little incident," said Stanton, " was the 
crisis of our history, — the pivot upon which every- 
thing turned. Had he remained in Fort Moultrie, 
a very different combination of circumstances would 
have arisen. The attack on Sumter — commenced 
by the South — united the North, and made the 
success of the Confederacy impossible. I shall 
never forget," he continued, "our coming together 
by special summons that night. Buchanan sat in 
his arm-chair in a corner of the room, white as a 
sheet, with the stump of a cigar in his mouth. The 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 55 

despatches were laid before us ; and so much vio« 
lence ensued, that he had to turn us all out-of- 
doors." 

The day following, by special permission of Mr. 
Lincoln, I was present at the regular Cabinet meet- 
ing. Judge Bates came in first, and, taking a 
package out of his pocket, said, " You may not be 
aware, Mr. President, that you have a formidable 
rival in the field. I received this through the mail 
to-day." He unfolded an immense placard, on 
which was printed in large letters, — "I introduce 
for President of the United States, Mr. T. W. Smith 
[I think this was the name], of Philadelphia." 
The bill then went on to enumerate the qualifications 
of the candidate, which were of a stunning order ; 
and the whole was signed " George Bates," which 
the Attorney-General said might be a relative of 
his, for aught he knew. This decidedly original 
document was pinned up in a conspicuous place in 
the council-chamber, where it hung for several 
days, of course attracting the attention of all vis- 
itors, and creating much amusement. 

The disaster on the Red River was the subject 
of official consultation. The positions of the re- 
spective forces were traced on the war maps, and 
various suggestions and opinions offered. The Sec- 
retary of the Interior, looking over to where the 
Secretary of War sat, said he had a young friend 
whom he wished to have appointed a paymaster 
in the army. "How old is he?" asked Stanton, 



56 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

gruffly. "About twenty-one, I believe," answered 
the Secretary of the Interior; "he is of good fam- 
ily and excellent character." " Usher," was the 
reply, " I would not appoint the Angel Gabriel a 
paymaster, if he was only twenty-one." 

Judge Bates, who was to have a sitting after the 
adjournment, here beckoned to me, signifying that 
he was ready for the appointment. And so ended 
my brief glimpse of a cabinet in session. 



XVIII. 

General Grant reached Washington, after his 
nomination to the Lieutenant-Generalship, the even- 
ing of March 8th, 1864. His reception at Wil- 
lard's Hotel, unaccompanied by staff or escort, was 
an event never to be forgotten by those who wit- 
nessed it. Later in the evening he attended the 
Presidential levee, entering the reception-room 
unannounced. He was recognized and welcomed by 
the President with the utmost cordiality, and the 
distinguished stranger was soon nearly over- 
whelmed by the pressure of the crowd upon him. 
Secretary Seward at length mounting a sofa, pulled 
the modest hero up by his side, where he stood for 
some time, bowing his acknowledgments to the tu- 
multuous assemblage. He subsequently remarked 
that this was " his warmest campaign during the 
war." 

The next day at one o'clock he was formally 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE* 57 

presented by the President with his commission as 
Lieutenant-General. The ceremony took place in 
the presence of the Cabinet, the Hon. Mr. Love- 
joy, and several officers of the army, and was very 
brief and simple, as became the character of each 
of the illustrious chief actors. 

On the day following General Grant visited the 
Army of the Potomac, and upon his return to 
Washington he made preparations to leave imme- 
diately for the West. At the close of a consulta- 
tion with the President and Secretary of War, he 
was informed that Mrs. Lincoln expected his pres- 
ence the same evening at a military dinner she 
proposed to give in his honor. The General at 
once responded that it would be impossible for him 
to remain over, — he " must be in Tennessee at a 
given time." " But we can't excuse you," re- 
turned the President. "It would be the play 
of ' Hamlet ' with Hamlet left out, over again. 
Twelve distinguished officers, now in the city, have 
been invited to meet you." "I appreciate fully 
the honor Mrs. Lincoln would do me," replied the 
General, hesitatingly, knocking the ashes off the 
end of his cigar; "but — time is very precious 
just now — and — really, Mr. President, I be- 
lieve I have had enough of the ' show * business ! " 

The dinner was given ; the twelve officers 
did full justice to it ; but it is needless to add, 
the Lieutenant-General was not one of the num- 
ber. 



58 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

XIX. 

The evening of March 25th was an intensely 
interesting one to me. It was passed with the 
President alone in his study, marked by no inter- 
ruptions. Busy with pen and papers when I en- 
tered, he presently threw them aside, and com- 
menced talking again about Shakspeare. Little 
Tad coming in, he sent him to the library for 
a copy of the plays, from which he read aloud sev- 
eral of his favorite passages. Relapsing into a 
sadder strain, he laid the book aside, and leaning 
back in his chair, said, " There is a poem that 
has been a great favorite with me for years, to 
which my attention was first called when a young 
man, by a friend, and which I afterward saw and 
cut from a newspaper, and carried in my pocket, 
till by frequent reading I had it by heart. I would 
give a great deal," he added, " to know who wrote 
it, but I never could ascertain." Then, half clos- 
ing his eyes, he repeated the poem, " Oh ! why 
should the spirit of mortal be proud ? " Surprised 
and delighted, I told him that I should greatly 
prize a copy of the lines. He replied that he had 
recently written them out for Mrs. Stanton, but 
promised that when a favorable opportunity oc- 
curred he would give them to me. 

Varying the subject, he continued : % " There are 
some quaint, queer verses, written, I think, by 
Oliver Wendell Holmes, entitled, ' The Last Leaf, 1 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 59 

one of which is to me inexpressibly touching. He 
then repeated these also from memory. The verse 
he referred to occurs in about the middle of the 
poem, and is this : — 

" The mossy marbles rest 
On the lips that he has pressed 

In their bloom ; 
And the names he loved to hear 
Have been carved for many a year 
On the tomb." 

As he finished this verse, he said, in his emphatic 
way, " For pure pathos, in my judgment, there is 
nothing finer than those six lines in the English 
language ! " 

A day or two afterward, he asked me to accom- 
pany him to the temporary studio, at the Treasury 
Department, of Mr. Swayne, the sculptor, who was 
making a bust of him. While he was sitting, it 
occurred to me to improve the opportunity to secure 
the promised poem. Upon mentioning the subject, 
the sculptor surprised me by saying that he had at his 
home, in Philadelphia, a printed copy of the verses, 
taken from a newspaper some years previous. The 
President inquired if they were published in any 
connection with his name. Mr. Swayne said that 
they purported to have been written " by Abraham 
Lincoln." " I have heard of that before, and that 
is why I asked," returned the President. " But 
there is no truth in it. The poem was first shown 
to me by a young man named 'Jason Duncan,' 
many years ago." 



60 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

The sculptor was using for a studio the of- 
fice of the Solicitor of the Treasury Department, 
an irregular room, packed nearly full of law books. 
Seating myself, I believe, upon a pile of these at Mr. 
Lincoln's feet, he kindly repeated the lines, which I 
wrote down, one by one, as they fell from his lips : — 

OH! WHY SHOULD THE SPIRIT OF MORTAL BE 
PROUD?* 

Oh ! why should the spirit of mortal be proud ? 
Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud, 
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave, 
He passeth from life to his rest in the grave. 

The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade, 
Be scattered around, and together be laid; 
And the young and the old, and the low and the high, 
Shall moulder to dust, and together shall lie. 

The infant a mother attended and loved ; 
The mother that infant's affection who proved; 
The husband, that mother and infant who blest, — 
Each, all, are away to their dwellings of rest. 

[The maid on whose cheek, on whose brow, in whose eye, 
Shone beauty and pleasure, — her triumphs are by; 
And the memory of those who loved her and praised, 
Are alike from the minds of the living erased.] 

The hand of the king that the sceptre hath borne, 
The brow of the priest that the mitre hath worn, 
The eye of the sage, and the heart of the brave, 
Are hidden and lost in the depths of the grave. 

* The authorship of this poem has been made known since this 
publication in the Evening Post. It was written by William Knox, 
a young Scotchman, a contemporary of Sir Walter Scott. He died 
in Edinburgh, in 1825, at the age of 36. 

The two verses in brackets were not repeated by Mr. LincoLi, 
but belong to the original poem. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 61 

The peasant, whose lot was to sow and to reap, 
The herdsman, who climbed with his goats up the steep, 
The beggar, who wandered in search of his bread, 
Have faded awaj^ like the grass that we tread. 

[The saint, who enjoyed the communion of Heaven, 
The sinner, who dared to remain unforgiven, 
The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just, 
Have quietly mingled their bones in the dust.] 

So the multitude goes — like the flower or the weed 
That withers away to let others succeed; 
So the multitude comes — even those we behold, 
To repeat every tale that has often been told. 

For we are the same our fathers have been ; 
We see the same sights our fathers have seen ; 
We drink the same stream, we view the same sun, 
And run the same course our fathers have run. 

The thoughts we are thinking, our fathers would think ; 
From the death we are shrinking, our fathers would shrink : 
To the life we are clinging, they also would cling; — 
But it speeds from us all like a bird on the wing. 

They loved — but the story we cannot unfold; 
They scorned — but the heart of the haughty is cold; 
They grieved — but no wail from their slumber will come; 
They joyed — but the tongue of their gladness is dumb. 

They died — ay, they died; — we things that are now, 
That walk on the turf that lies over their brow, 
And make in their dwellings a transient abode, 
Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage road. 

Yea ! hope and despondency, pleasure and pain, 
Are mingled together in sunshine and rain ; 
And the smile and the tear, the song and the dirge, 
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge. 

»T is the wink of an eye — 't is the draught of a breath — 
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death, 
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud: — 
Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud? 



62 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

XX. 

On the way to the sculptor's studio a conversa- 
tion occurred of much significance, in view of the 
terrible tragedy so soon to paralyze every loyal 
heart in the nation. A late number of the New 
York " Tribune " had contained an account from a 
correspondent within the Rebel lines, of an elabo- 
rate conspiracy, matured in Richmond, to abduct, 
or assassinate — if the first was not found practi- 
cable — the person of the President. A secret or- 
ganization, composed, it was stated, of five hun- 
dred or a thousand men, had solemnly sworn to 
accomplish the deed. Mr. Lincoln had not seen 
or heard of this account, and at his request, I gave 
him the details. Upon the conclusion, he smiled 
incredulously, and said : " Well, even if true, I do 
not s'3e what the Rebels w r ould gain by killing or 
getting possession of me. I am but a single indi- 
vidual, and it would not help their cause or make 
the least difference in the progress of the w T ar. 
Everything would go right on just the same. Soon 
after I was nominated at Chicago, I began to re- 
ceive letters threatening my life. The first one or 
two made me a little uncomfortable, but I came at 
length to look for a regular instalment of this kind 
of correspondence in every week's mail, and up to 
inauguration day I was in constant receipt of such 
letters. It is no uncommon thing to receive them 
now ; but they have ceased to give me any appre- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 63 

hension." I expressed some surprise at this, but 
he replied in his peculiar way, " Oh, there is 
nothing like getting used to things ! ' 

In connection with this, Mr. Noah Brooks, — who 
was to have been Mr. Nicolay's successor as private 
secretary to the President, — and Colonel Charles 
G. Halpine, of New York, have referred to personal 
conversations of exceeding interest, which I tran- 
scribe. 

In an article contributed to " Harper's Maga- 
zine," soon after the assassination, Mr. Brooks 
says : — 

" The simple habits of Mr. Lincoln were so well 
known that it is a subject for surprise that watchful 
and malignant treason did not sooner take that 
precious life which he seemed to hold so lightly. 
He had an almost morbid dislike for an escort, or 
guide, and daily exposed himself to the deadly aim 
of an assassin. One summer morning, passing by 
the White House at an early hour, I saw the Pres- 
ident standing at the gateway, looking anxiously 
down the street ; and, in reply to a salutation, he 
said, ? Good morning, good morning ! I am look- 
ing for a newsboy ; when you get to that corner, 
I wish you would start one up this way.' In reply 
to the remonstrances of friends, who were afraid of 
his constant exposure to danger, he had but one 
answer : ' If they kill me, the next man will be 
just as bad for them ; and in a country like this, 
where our habits are simple, and must be, assassi- 



64 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

nation is always possible, and will come, if they are 
determined upon it.' " 

A cavalry guard was once placed at the gates 
of the White House for a w r hile, and he said, pri- 
vately, that "he worried until he got rid of it." 
While the President's family were at their sum- 
mer-house, near Washington, he rode into town 
of a morning, or out at night, attended by a 
mounted escort ; but if he returned to town for a 
while after dark, he rode in unguarded, and often 
alone, in his open carriage. On more than one 
occasion the writer has gone through the streets of 
Washington at a late hour of the night with the 
President, without escort, or even the company of 
a servant, walking all of the way, going and re- 
turning. 

Considering the many open and secret threats 
to take his life, it is not surprising that Mr. Lin- 
coln had many thoughts about his coming to a 
sudden and violent end. He once said that he felt 
the force of the expression, " To take one's life in 
his hand ; " but that he would not like to face death 
suddenly. He said that he thought himself a great 
coward physically, and was sure that he would 
make a poor soldier, for, unless there was something 
inspiriting in the excitement of a battle, he was 
sure that he would drop his gun and run, at the 
first symptom of danger. That w r as said sportively, 
and he added, " Moral cowardice is something 
which I think I never had." 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 65 

Colonel Halpine, while serving as a member of 
General Halleck's staff, had frequently to wait upon 
the President, both during official hours and at 
other times. On one of these occasions, Mr. Lin- 
coln concluded some interesting remarks with these 
words : " It would never do for a President to 
have guards with drawn sabres at his door, as if 
he fancied he were, or were trying to be, or were 
assuming to be, an emperor." 

" This expression," writes Colonel Halpine, 
"called my attention afresh to what I had remarked 
to myself almost every time I entered the White 
House, and to which I had very frequently called the 
attention both of Major Hay and General Halleck — 
the utterly unprotected condition of the President's 
person, and the fact that any assassin or maniac, 
seeking his life, could enter his presence without 
the interference of a single armed man to hold him 
back. The entrance-doors, and all doors on the 
official side of the building, were open at all hours 
of the day, and very late into the evening ; and I 
have many times entered the mansion, and walked 
up to the rooms of the two private secretaries, as 
late as nine or ten o'clock at night, without seeing 
or being challenged by a single soul. There were, 
indeed, two attendants, — one for the outer door, 
and the other for the door of the official cham- 
bers ; but these — thinking, I suppose, that none 
would call after office hours save persons who were 
personally acquainted, or had the right of official en- 



66 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

try — were, not unfrequently, somewhat remiss in 
their duties. 

" To this fact I now ventured to call the Presi- 
dent's attention, saying that to me — perhaps from 
my European education — it appeared a deliberate 
courting of danger, even if the country were in a 
state of the profoundest peace, for the person at the 
head of the nation to remain so unprotected. 

" 6 There are two dangers,' I wound up by say- 
ing ; ' the danger of deliberate political assassina- 
tion, and the mere brute violence of insanity.' 

" Mr. Lincoln heard me through with a smile, 
his hands locked across his knees, his body rock- 
ing back and forth, — the common indication that 
he was amused. 

" 4 Now, as to political assassination,' he said, 
4 do you think the Richmond people would like to 
have Hannibal Hamlin here any better than my- 
self? In that one alternative, I have an insurance 
on my life worth half the prairie land of Illinois. 
And beside,' — this more gravely, — ' if there were 
such a plot, and they wanted to get at me, no vigi- 
lance could keep them out. We are so mixed up 
in our affairs, that — no matter what the system 
established — a conspiracy to assassinate, if such 
there were, could easily obtain a pass to see me for 
any one or more of its instruments. 

" ' To betray fear of this, by placing guards or 
so forth, would only be to put the idea into theii 
heads, and perhaps lead to the very result it was 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 67 

Intended to prevent. As to the crazy folks, Major, 
why I must only take my chances, — the worst 
crazy people at present, I fear, being some of my 
own too zealous adherents. That there may be such 
dangers as you and many others have suggested to 
me, is quite possible ; but I guess it would n't im- 
prove things any to publish that we were afraid of 
them in advance.' 

" Upon another occasion I remember his coming 
over one evening after dinner, to General Halleck's 
private quarters, to protest — half jocularly, half in 
earnest — against a small detachment of cavalry 
which had been detailed without his request, and 
partly against his will, by the lamented General 
Wadsworth, as a guard for his carriage in going to 
and returning from the Soldiers' Home. The bur- 
den of his complaint was that he and Mrs. Lincoln 
* could n't hear themselves talk,' for the clatter of 
their sabres and spurs ; and that, as many of them 
appeared new hands and very awkward, he was 
more afraid of being shot by the accidental dis- 
charge of one of their carbines or revolvers, than 
of any attempt upon his life or for his capture by 
the roving squads of Jeb Stuart's cavalry, then 
hovering all round the exterior works of the city." 



XXI. 

Judge Bates, the Attorney-General, was one day 
rery severe upon the modern 'deal school of 



68 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

art, as applied to historic characters and events. 
He instanced in sculpture, Greenough's " Wash- 
ington," in the Capitol grounds, which, he said, was 
a very good illustration of the heathen idea of Ju- 
piter Tonans, but was the farthest possible remove 
from any American's conception of the Father of 
his Country. Powell's painting in the Rotunda, 
44 De Soto discovering the Mississippi," and Mills's 
equestrian statue of Jackson, in front of the Presi- 
dent's House, shared in his sarcastic condemnation. 
He quoted from an old English poet — Creech, I 
think he said — with much unction : — 

M Whatever contradicts my sense 
1 hate to see, and can but disbelieve." 

44 Genius and talent," said he, on another occa- 
sion, 44 are rarely found combined in one individ- 
ual." I requested his definition of the distinction. 
44 Genius," he replied, " conceives; talent exe- 
cutes." 

Referring to Mr. Lincoln's never-failing fund 
of anecdote, he remarked, 44 The character of the 
President's mind is such that his thought habitually 
takes on this form of illustration, by which the 
point he wishes to enforce is invariably brought 
home with a strength and clearness impossible in 
hours of abstract argument. Mr. Lincoln," he 
added, " comes very near being a perfect man, 
according to my ideal of manhood. He lacks but 
one thing." Looking up from my palette, I asked, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 69 

musingly, if this was official dignity as President 
" No," replied Judge Bates, " that is of little con- 
sequence. His deficiency is in the element of will. 
I have sometimes told him, for instance, that he was 
unfit to be intrusted with the pardoning power. 
Why, if a man comes to him with a touching story, 
his judgment is almost certain to be affected by it. 
Should the applicant be a woman, a wife, a mother, 
or a sister, — in nine cases out of ten, her tears, if 
nothing else, are sure to prevail." 

XXII. 

Mr. Seward, whose conversation much of the 
time, while sitting, was like that of a man solil- 
oquizing aloud, told me on one occasion two or 
three good stories. Referring to the numerous 
portraits painted of him at different times, he said, 
that of all artists whom he had known, Henry In- 
man was most rapid in execution. For the full- 
length portrait, painted while he was Governor, 
for the city of New York, Inman required but two 
or three sittings of an hour each, with an addi- 
tional quarter of an hour for the standing figure. 
This drew out something from me in relation to 
Elliott's w T hole length of him, painted at the 
iame period. " My experience with Elliott," he 
rejoined, " who was then in the beginning of his 
career, was a very different affair. He seemed to 
think me like Governor Crittenden's hen." Laugh- 



70 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

ing at the recollection, he lighted a cigar, and con- 
tinued : " One day the Governor was engaged with 
his Council, when his little boy, of five or six years, 
came into the chamber, and said, ' Father, the 
black hen is setting? ' Go away, my son,' re 
turned the Governor ; ' I am very busy.' The child 
disappeared, but soon returned, and putting his head 
in at the door, repeated the information. ' Well, 
well,' replied the Governor, < you must not bother 
me now ; let her set? The door was shut, 
but soon afterward again cautiously opened, in the 
midst of a profound discussion, and the words 
rang out, ' But father, she is setting on one 
egg ! 9 The Governor turned around, and looking 
into the dilated eyes of the excited little fellow, re- 
plied dryly, 4 Well, my son, I think we will let her 
set Her time is not very precious ! ' " 

Another was of General R , formerly of the 

New York State Senate. At the regular session 
one day, the General gave notice that the following 
day he would introduce a bill providing a ther- 
mometer for every institution of learning in the 
State. The next morning the clerk was in his 
private office at the usual hour, reading the bills 
aloud, and placing them on file for the business of 
the day. A gentleman who prided himself upon 
his classical attainments was present, and, as the 

clerk read the notice given by Senator R , he 

was informed that a word borrowed from another 
language should, according to the rule, always be 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 71 

given its native pronunciation. The original of 
thermometer, the gentleman said, was a French 
term, which should be pronounced accordingly. By 
a process of reasoning the clerk was convinced ; 

and when the bill was announced, he read it accord- 

• 

ing to instructions. General R was observed 

to look up from writing, and fix his eye upon the 
clerk. The second reading passed, and he rose to 
his feet, bending forward upon his desk, listen- 
ing intently, his eyebrows gradually contracting. 

" Third reading. Senator R gave notice of a 

bill to provide a thermometre for "every institution 
of learning in the State." By this time the atten- 
tion of the entire house was drawn to the General. 
u Ther — what?" he demanded, in a stentorian 
tone. " Thermometre" quietly responded the con- 
fident clerk. " Thermometer ! thermometer ! you 

fool ; don't you know what a thermometer 

is?" thundered the enraged Senator, amid roars of 
laughter. 

Speaking once of Henry Clay and Daniel Web- 
ster, Mr. Seward remarked, that, as statesmen, 
they could not well be compared ; " they were no 
more alike than a Grecian temple and a Gothic 
church." 

I was much interested in an opinion he once ex- 
pressed of equestrian statues. He said a grand 
character should never be represented in this form. 
It was ignoring the divine in human nature to thus' 
link man with an animal, and seemed to him a 



72 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

degradation of true art. " Bucephalus," in marble 
or bronze was well enough by itself. Place "Alex- 
ander" upon his back, and though the animal gained 
a degree of interest, the man lost immeasurably. 



XXIII. 

Soon after the chalk sketch of my conception had 
been placed upon the canvas, I attended one of the 
receptions given by the Secretary of the Navy 
and Mrs. Welles. While standing as I thought 
unobserved, near a corner of the room, Mr. Sew- 
ard approached me, and in a manner of more than 
usual warmth, said, " I told the President the 
other day that you were painting your picture upon 
a false presumption." Looking at him in some sur- 
prise, I inquired his meaning. " Oh," he rejoined, 
" you appear to think in common with many other 
foolish people, that the great business of this Ad- 
ministration is the destruction of slaverv. Now 
allow me to say you are much mistaken. Slavery 
was killed years ago. Its death knell was tolled 
when Abraham Lincoln was elected President. 
The work of this Administration is the suppression 
of the Rebellion and the preservation of the Union. 
Abolitionists, like the different religious sects, have 
been chasing one idea, until they have come to be- 
lieve that their horizon absolutely bounds the world. 
Slavery has been in fact but an incident in the 
history of the nation, inevitably bound to perish in 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 73 

the progress of intelligence. Future generations 
will scarcely credit the record that such an insti- 
tution ever existed here; or existing, that it ever 
lived a day under such a government. But sup- 
pose, for one moment, the Republic destroyed. 
With it is bound up not alone the destiny of a race, 
but the best hopes of all mankind. With its over- 
throw the sun of liberty, like the Hebrew dial, 
would be set back indefinitely. The magni- 
tude of such a calamity is beyond our calculation. 
The salvation of the nation is, then, of vastly more 
consequence than the destruction of slavery. Had 
you consulted me for a subject to paint, I should 
not have given you the Cabinet Council on Eman- 
cipation, but the meeting which took place when 
the news came of the attack upon Sumter, when 
the first measures were organized for the restoration 
of the national authority. That was the crisis in 
the history of this Administration — not the issue of 
the Emancipation Proclamation. If I am to be re- 
membered by posterity," he concluded, with much 
excitement of manner, " let it not be as having 
loved predominantly white men or black men, but 
as one who loved his country." 

Assenting to much that he had said, I replied, 
that with all deference, I could not accept his 
conclusions regarding slavery. Although more 
than a year had passed since the issue of the pro- 
clamation, the Confederacy, founded upon it, was 
yet powerful enough to threaten the destruction of 



74 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

the nation, though, for my own part, I did not 
question the result of the conflict. I looked upon 
the Declaration of Independence as the assertion 
that all men were created free. Mr. Lincoln's 
Emancipation Proclamation was the demonstration 
of this great truth. Without slavery the Re- 
public would have been in no danger. That was 
the canker-worm gnawing away the nation's life. 
Not until the Administration was ready to strike at 
the root and cause of the Rebellion, was there any 
reason to hope for the success of the national cause. 
Without this step, however grand or high the 
conception in the minds of men of the Republic, 
in all probability it w r ould have perished. There- 
fore, in my judgment, no single act of the Ad- 
ministration could for one moment be compared 
with that of emancipation. Granting the poten- 
tial view, the proclamation was necessary, as the 
sign and seal of the consummation. 

"Well," replied Mr. Seward, "you think so, 
and this generation may agree with you ; but pos- 
terity will hold a different opinion." 

Of course this conversation could not but attract 
the attention of all in the immediate vicinity. A 
few moments later, Senator Morgan, referring to 
the Secretary's assertion that slavery was dead when 
the Rebellion broke out, told me this character- 
istic incident of the President, showing that he, at 
least, did not hold that view. Soon after the issue 
of the proclamation, having official business, as Gov- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 75 

ernor of New York, which called him to Washing- 
ton, Mr. Lincoln remarked to him, speaking of his 
action upon this subject, " We are a good deal like 
whalers who have been long on a chase. At last 
we have got our harpoon fairly into the monster ; 
but we must now look how we steer, or with one 
flop of his tail, he will yet send us all into 
eternity!" 

XXIV. 

Mr. George Thompson, the English anti-slavery 
orator, delivered an address in the House of Rep- 
resentatives, to a large audience, April 6th, 1864. 
Among the distinguished persons present was Pres- 
ident Lincoln, who was greatly interested. The 
following morning, Mr. Thompson and party, con- 
sisting of Rev. John Pierpont, Oliver Johnson, 
formerly President of the Anti-Slavery Society of 
New York, and the Hon. Lewis Clephane, of Wash- 
ington, called at the White House. The President 
was alone when their names were announced, with 
the exception of myself. Dropping all business, 
he ordered the party to be immediately admitted. 
Greeting them very cordially, the gentlemen took 
seats, and Mr. Thompson commenced conversation 
by referring to the condition of public sentiment in 
England in regard to the great conflict the nation 
was passing through. He said the aristocracy and 
the " money interest " were desirous of seeing the 
Union broken up, but that the great heart of the 



76 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

masses beat in sympathy with the North. They 
instinctively felt that the cause of liberty was bound 
up with our success in putting down the Rebellion, 
and the struggle was being watched with the deep- 
est anxiety. 

Mr. Lincoln thereupon said : " Mr. Thompson, 
the people of Great Britain, and of other foreign 
governments, were in one great error in reference 
to this conflict. They seemed to think that, the 
moment I was President, I had the power to abol- 
ish slavery, forgetting that, before I could have 
any power whatever, I had to take the oath to sup- 
port the Constitution of the United States, and ex- 
ecute the laws as I found them. When the Rebel- 
lion broke out, my duty did not admit of a question. 
That was, first, by all strictly lawful means to en- 
deavor to maintain the integrity of the government. 
I did not consider that I had a right to touch the 
' State ' institution of ' Slavery ' until all other meas- 
ures for restoring the Union had failed. The para- 
mount idea of the constitution is the preservation of 
the Union. It may not be specified in so many 
words, but that this was the idea of its founders is 
evident ; for, without the Union, the constitution 
would be worthless. It seems clear, then, that in 
the last extremity, if any local institution threatened 
the existence of the Union, the Executive could not 
hesitate as to his duty. In our case, the moment 
came when I felt that slavery must die that the 
nation might live ! I have sometimes used the 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 77 

illustration in this connection of a man with a dis 
eased limb, and his surgeon. So long as there is a 
chance of the patient's restoration, the surgeon is 
solemnly bound to try to save both life and limb ; 
but when the crisis comes, and the limb must be 
sacrificed as the only chance of saving the life, no 
honest man will hesitate. 

" Many of my strongest supporters urged Eman- 
cipation before I thought it indispensable, and, I 
may say, before I thought the country ready for it. 
It is my conviction that, had the proclamation been 
issued even six months earlier than it was, public 
sentiment would not have sustained it. Just so, 
as to the subsequent action in reference to enlist- 
ing blacks in the Border States. The step, taken 
sooner, could not, in my judgment, have been car- 
ried out. A man watches his pear-tree day after 
day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let 
him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil 
both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and 
the ripe pear at length falls into his lap ! We have 
seen this great revolution in public sentiment slowly 
but surely progressing, so that, when final action 
came, the opposition was not strong enough to de- 
feat the purpose. I can now solemnly assert," he 
concluded, " that I have a clear conscience in regard 
to my action on this momentous question. I have 
done what no man could have helped doing, stand- 
ing in my place." 

Oliver Johnson, speaking, as he said, for the old 



78 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Anti-Slavery party, assured the President that they 
had fully appreciated the difficulties and embar- 
rassments of his position ; but when they realized 
the importance of the grand issue, and observed the 
conflicting influences that were surging around him, 
they were in an agony of anxiety lest he should 
somehow be led to take a false position. If, in the 
months preceding the issue of the Emancipation 
Proclamation, they had seemed impatient and dis- 
trustful, it was because their knowledge of his char- 
acter had not been sufficient to assure them that he 
would be able to stand up manfully against the 
opposing current. He thanked God that the re- 
sult had shown that we had a President who was 
equal to the emergency ; and for his part he was 
willing to sink all minor issues in the grand con- 
summation he believed then in sight ! 

A characteristic incident occurred toward the 
close of the interview. When the President ceased 
speaking, the Rev. Mr. Pierpont, impressed with 
his earnestness, turned to Mr. Thompson, and re- 
peated a Latin quotation from the classics. Mr. 
Lincoln, leaning forward in his chair, looked from 
one to the other inquiringly, and then remarked, 
with a smile, " Which, I suppose you are both 
aware, I do not understand." 

As the party rose to take leave, the President re- 
marked, motioning toward me, " We have a young 
man here who is painting a picture down-stairs, 
which I should be glad to have you see." The gen- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 79 

tlei^efi expressed their acknowledgments of the 
courtesy, and Mr. Lincoln led the way by the 
private staircase to the state dining-room. In 
the passage through the hall he jocularly remarked 
to Mr. Thompson, " Your folks made rather sad 
work of this mansion when they came up the Po- 
tomac in 1812. Nothing was left of it but the 
bare walls." I do not remember the reply tc this 
sally, save that it was given and received in good 
part. Briefly going over the portraiture and com- 
position of the picture, then in too early a stage for 
criticism, Mr. Lincoln presently excused himself, 
and returned to his duties. And thus ended an 
interview doubtless indelibly stamped upon the 
memory of each individual privileged in sharing it. 
Upon referring to the date of the " Hodges" let- 
ter, it will be seen that it was written April 4th, only 
three days before the visit of Mr. Thompson and 
party. The coincidence of thought and expression 
in that statement, and the President's conversation 
on this occasion, are noticeable ; and are explained by 
the fact, that, w T ith the language of that letter still 
fresl. in his mind, he very naturally fell into a similar 
vein of illustration. 

XXV. 

Dr. Holland, in his " Life of Abraham Lincoln," 
I regret to observe, has thought it worth while to 
notice the reports, which in one way and another 
have obtained circulation, that the President habit- 



80 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

ually indulged, in ordinary conversation, in a class 
of objectionable stories. The biographer, it is true, 
attempts to palliate this, on the ground that it was 
no innate love of impurity which prompted such 
relations, but a keen relish for wit, in any form, 
the lack of refining influences in early life, and 
his experience as a lawyer, which necessarily in- 
duced professional familiarity with the foulest phases 
of human nature. The fault is a common one with 
many men of otherwise unblemished reputation, and 
cannot be too severely reprehended. The sooner, 
however, such things can be forgotten, of neighbor, 
friend, or President, the better. Weaknesses and 
blemishes are inseparable from' common humanity 
in the present stage of its development ; and though, 
like the spots on the sun, they may serve to inspire 
in us a feeling of kindred, — let the orb once set, 
never again to rise on the world, and he who should 
remember the trifling defects in the universal loss 
would certainly be considered, if not captious, at 
least a most inopportune critic. 

Mr. Lincoln, I am convinced, has been greatly 
wronged in this respect. Every foul-mouthed man 
in the country gave currency to the slime and filth 
of his own imagination by attributing it to the 
President. It is but simple justice to his memory 
that I should state, that during the entire period of 
n*y stay in Washington, after witnessing his inter- 
course with nearly all classes of men, embracing 
governors, senators, members of Congress, officers 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 81 

of the army, and intimate friends, I cannot recol- 
lect to have heard him relate a circumstance to any- 
one of them, which would have been out of place 
uttered in a ladies' drawing-room. And this testi- 
mony is not unsupported by that of others, well 
entitled to consideration. Dr. Stone, his family 
physician, came in one day to see my studies. 
Sitting in front of ■ that of the President, — with 
whom he did not sympathize politically, — he re- 
marked, with much feeling, " It is the province of 
a physician to probe deeply the interior lives of 
men ; and I affirm that Mr. Lincoln is the purest 
hearted man with whom I ever came in contact." 
Secretary Seward, who of the Cabinet officers was 
probably most intimate w T ith the President, ex- 
pressed the same sentiment in still stronger lan- 
guage. He once said to the Rev. Dr. Bellows: 
" Mr. Lincoln is the best man I ever knew ! " 



XXVI. 

The 25th of April, Burnside's command marched 
through Washington, on the way from Annapolis, 
to reinforce the army of the Potomac. The Presi- 
dent reviewed the troops from the top of the east- 
ern portico at Willard's Hotel, standing with un- 
covered head while the entire thirty thousand men 
filed through Fourteenth Street. Of course the 
passage of so large a body of troops through the 
city — presaging as it did the opening of the cam- 



32 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

paign — drew out a numerous concourse of spec 
tators, and the coming movement was everywhere 
the absorbing topic of conversation. Early in the 
evening, Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania, with a 
friend, came into the President's office. As he sat 
down he referred to the fine appearance of Burn- 
side's men; saying, with much emphasis, "Mr. 
President, if there is in the world one man more 
than another worthy of profound respect, it is the 
volunteer citizen soldier." To this Mr. Lincoln 
assented, in a quiet way, — the peculiar dreaminess 
of expression so remarkable at times, stealing over 
his face as his mind reverted to the thousands whose 
lives had been so freely offered upon the altar of 
their country, and the myriad homes represented 
by the thronging columns of the day's review, in so 
many of which there was henceforth to be weary 
watching and waiting for footsteps which would 
return no more. 

I took this opportunity to get at the truth con- 
cerning a newspaper story which went the rounds 
a year or two previous, purporting to be an ac- 
count of a meeting of the loval Governors in 
Washington, early in the war. It was stated that 
the President laid the condition of the country be- 
fore such a council, convened at the White House, 
and anxiously awaited the result. An oppressive 
silence followed. Curtin was represented as hav- 
ing been standing, looking out of one of the win- 
dows, drumming unconsciously upon a pane of glass. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 83 

Mr. Lincoln, at length addressing him personally, 
said : "Andy, what is Pennsylvania going to do ? " 
Turning around, Curtin replied : " She is going to 
send twenty thousand men to start with, and will 
double it, if necessary ! " " This noble response " 
[quoted from memory] "overwhelmed the Presi- 
dent, and lifted the dead weight which seemed to 
have paralyzed all present." 

I repeated this account substantially as here 
given ; but both parties smiled and shook their 
heads. " It is a pity to spoil so good a story," re- 
turned the President, " but, unfortunately, there is 
not a word of truth in it. I believe the only con- 
vocation of Governors that has taken place during 
the war," he added, looking at Curtin, M was that 
at Altoona — was it not ? " 

Subsequently the two gentlemen proposed to 
visit my room, and Mr. Lincoln accompanied them. 
Sitting down under the chandelier on the edge of 
the long table, which ran the whole length of the 
apartment, swinging back and forth his long legs, 
passing his hand occasionally over his brow and 
through his rough hair (his appearance and man- 
ner come back to me most vividly, as I write), 
he listened abstractedly to my brief explanation of 
the design of the picture. When I ceased, he 
took up the record in his own way. u You see, 
Curtin," said he, " I was brought to the conclu- 
sjon that there was no dodging this negro question 
any longer. We had reached the point where it 



b4 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Beemed that we must avail ourselves of this ele- 
ment, or in all probability go under." He then 
went over the circumstances attending the step, in 
much the same language he had used upon the 
occasion of my first interview with him. Gov- 
ernor Curtin remarked that the impression pre- 
vailed in some quarters that Secretary Seward 
opposed the policy. " That is not true," replied 
Mr. Lincoln ; " he advised postponement, at the 
first meeting, which seemed to me sound. It was 
Seward's persistence which resulted in the insertion 
of the word * maintain,' which I feared under the 
circumstances was promising more than it was quite 
probable we could carry out." 

The bill empowering the Secretary of the Treas- 
ury to sell the surplus gold had recently passed, 
and Mr. Chase was then in New York, giving his 
attention personally to the experiment. Governor 
Curtin referred to this, saying, " I see by the quo- 
tations that Chase's movement has already knocked 
gold down several per cent." This gave occasion 
for the strongest expression I ever heard fall from 
the lips of Mr. Lincoln. Knotting his face in the 
intensity of his feeling, he said, " Curtin, what do 
you think of those fellows in Wall Street, who are 
gambling in gold at such a time as this ? " " They 
are a set of sharks," returned Curtin. " For my 
part," continued the President, bringing his clinched 
hand down upon the table, " I wish every one qf 
them had his devilish head shot off! " 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 85 

XXVII. 

There was one marked element of Mr. Lincoln's 
character admirably expressed by the Hon. Mr. 
Colfax, in his oration at Chicago upon his death : 
" When his judgment, which acted slowly, but 
which was almost as immovable as the eternal hills 
when settled, was grasping some subject of im- 
portance, the arguments against his own desires 
seemed uppermost in his mind, and, in conversing 
upon it, he would present those arguments to see 
if they could be rebutted." 

In illustration of this, it is only necessary to 
recall the fact that the interview between himself 
and the Chicago delegation of clergymen, appointed 
to urge upon him the issue of a proclamation of 
emancipation, took place September 13, 1862, 
more than a month after he had declared to the 
Cabinet his established purpose to take this step. 
He said to this committee : " I do not want to issue 
a document that the whole world will see must 
necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope's bull 
against the comet ! " After drawing out their 
views upon the subject, he concluded the interview 
with these memorable words : — 

" Do not misunderstand me, because I have men- 
tioned these objections. They indicate the diffi- 
culties which have thus far prevented my action in 
some such way as you desire. I have not decided 
against a proclamation of liberty to the slaves, but 



86 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

hold the matter under advisement. And I can 
assure you that the subject is on my mind, by 
day and night, more than any other. Whatever 
shall appear to be God's will, I will do ! I trust 
that, in the freedom with which I have canvassed 
your views, I have not in any respect injured your 
feelings." 

In further evidence of this peculiarity of his 
mind, I will state that notwithstanding his apparent 
hesitation in the appointment of a successor to 
Judge Taney, it is well known to his most intimate 
friends, that "there had never been a time during 
his Presidency, when, in the event of the death of 
Judge Taney, he had not fully intended and ex- 
pected to nominate Salmon P. Chase for Chief 
Justice." These were his very words uttered in 
connection with this subject. 



XXVIII. 

In Barrett's biography of Mr. Lincoln, it is 
stated that the first draft of the Emancipation 
Proclamation was written on board of the steam- 
boat returning from his 8th of July visit to 
the army at Harrison's Landing. This circum- 
stance was not included in the statement given 
me, and to others in my presence, at different 
times ; but from the known relations of the author 
with the President, it is undoubtedly true. The 
original draft was written upon one side of four 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 87 

half sheets of official foolscap. He flung down 
upon the table one day for me, several sheets of the 
same, saying, " There, I believe, is some of the 
very paper which was used ; — if not, it was, at any 
rate, just like it." The original draft is dated 
September 22d, 1862, and was presented to the 
Army Relief Bazaar, at Albany, N. Y., in 1864. 
It is in the proper handwriting of Mr. Lincoln, 
excepting two interlineations in pencil, by Secre- 
tary Seward, and the formal heading and ending, 
which were written by the chief clerk of the State 
Department. 

The final Proclamation was signed on New- 
Year's Day, 1863. The President remarked to 
Mr. Colfax, the same evening, that the signature 
appeared somewhat tremulous and uneven. "Not," 
said he, " because of any uncertainty or hesitation 
on my part ; but it was just after the public recep- 
tion, and three hours' hand-shaking is not calcu- 
lated to improve a man's chirography." Then 
changing his tone, he added : " The South had fair 
warning, that if they did not return to their duty, 
I should strike at this pillar of their strength. The 
promise must now be kept, and I shall never recall 
one word." 

I remember to have asked him, on one occasion, 
if there was not some opposition manifested on the 
part of several members of the Cabinet to this 
policy. He replied, u Nothing more than I have 
stated to you. Mr. Blair thought we should lose 



88 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

the fall elections, and opposed it on that ground 
only." " I have understood," said I, " that Sec- 
retary Smith was not in favor of your action. Mr. 
Blair told me that, when the meeting closed, he 
and the Secretary of the Interior went away to- 
gether, and that the latter said to him, if the Pres- 
ident carried out that policy, he might count on 
losing Indiana, sure ! " " He never said anything 
of the kind to me," returned the President. "And 
what is Mr. Blair's opinion now? " I asked. " Oh," 
was the prompt reply, " he proved right in regard 
to the fall elections, but he is satisfied that we have 
since gained more than we lost." " I have been 
told," I added, "that Judge Bates doubted the 
constitutionality of the proclamation." " He never 
expressed such an opinion in my hearing," replied 
Mr. Lincoln. " No member of the Cabinet ever 
dissented from the policy, in any conversation with 



me." 



XXIX. 

It seems necessary at this point that an expla- 
nation should be given of a leading article which 
appeared in the New York " Independent," upon 
the withdrawal of Mr. Chase from the political can- 
vass of 1864, widely copied by the country press, 
in which it was stated that the concluding paragraph 
of the proclamation was from the pen of Secretary 
Chase. One of Mr. Lincoln's intimate friends, who 
felt that there was an impropriety in this publication, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 89 

at that time, for which Mr. Chase was in some de- 
gree responsible, went to see the President about it. 
" Oh," said Mr. Lincoln, with his characteristic 
simplicity and freedom from all suspicion, " Mr. 
Chase had nothing to do with it ; I think I men- 
tioned the circumstance to Mr. Til ton, myself." 

The facts in the case are these : While the meas- 
ure was pending, Mr. Chase submitted to the 
President a draft of a proclamation embodying his 
views upon the subject, which closed with the ap- 
propriate and solemn words referred to: "And 
upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of 
justice warranted by the Constitution, I invoke 
the considerate judgment of mankind and the gra- 
cious favor of Almighty God ! " 

Mr. Lincoln adopted this sentence intact, except- 
ing that he inserted after the word " Constitution " 
the words " upon military necessity." 

XXX. 

Mr. Chase told me that at the Cabinet meeting, 
immediately after the battle of Antietam, and just 
prior to the issue of the September Proclamation, 
the President entered upon the business before 
them, by saying that " the time for the annuncia- 
tion of the emancipation policy could be no longer 
delayed. Public sentiment," he thought, " would 
sustain it — many of his warmest friends and sup- 
porters demanded it — and he had promised his 



90 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

God that he would do it ! " The last part of this 
was uttered in a low tone, and appeared to be 
heard by no one but Secretary Chase, w r ho was 
sitting near him. He asked the President if he 
correctly understood him. Mr. Lincoln replied : 
" I made a solemn vow before God, that if General 
Lee was driven back from Pennsylvania, I would 
crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the 
slaves" 

In February 1865, a few days after the passage of 
the " Constitutional Amendment," I went to Wash- 
ington, and was received by Mr. Lincoln with the 
kindness and familiarity which had characterized our 
previous intercourse. I said to him at this time 
that I was very proud to have been the artist to 
have first conceived of the design of painting a 
picture commemorative of the Act of Emancipa- 
tion ; that subsequent occurrences had only con- 
firmed my own first judgment of that act as the 
most sublime moral event in our history. " Yes," 
said he, — and never do I remember to have no- 
ticed in him more earnestness of expression or 
manner, — " as affairs have turned, it is the central 
xct of my administration, and the great event of the 
nineteenth century" 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 91 



XXXI. 

The day after the review of Burnside's division, 
gome photographers from Brady's Gallery came up 
to the White House to make some stereoscopic 
studies for me of the President's office. They 
requested a dark closet, in which to develop the 
pictures ; and without a thought that I was in- 
fringing upon anybody's rights, I took them to an 
unoccupied room of which little " Tad " had taken 
possession a few days before, and with the aid of 
a couple of the servants, had fitted up as a min- 
iature theatre, with stage, curtains, orchestra, 
stalls, parquette, and all. Knowing that the use 
required would interfere with none of his arrange- 
ments, I led the way to this apartment. 

Everything went on well, and one or two pict- 
ures had been taken, when suddenly there was an 
uproar. The operator came back to the office, 
and said that " Tad " had taken great offence at 
the occupation of his room without his consent, and 
had locked the door, refusing all admission. The 
chemicals had been taken inside, and there was 
no way of getting at them, he having carried off 
the key. In the midst of this conversation, " Tad''' 
burst in, in a fearful passion. He laid all the 
blame upon me, — said that I had no right to use 
his room, and that the men should not go in even 
to get their things. He had locked the door, 
and they should not go there again — " they had no 



92 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

business in his room ! " Mr. Lincoln had been sitting 
for a photograph, and was still in the chair. He 
said, very mildly, " Tad, go and unlock the door." 
Tad went off muttering into his mother's room, 
refusing to obey. I followed him into the passage, 
but no coaxing would pacify him. Upon my return 
to the President, I found him still sitting patiently 
in the chair, from which he had not risen. He 
said : " Has not the boy opened that door ? " I 
replied that we could do nothing with him, — he 
had gone off in a great pet. Mr. Lincoln's lips 
came together firmly, and then, suddenly rising, he 
strode across the passage with the air of one bent 
on punishment, and disappeared in the domestic 
apartments. Directly he returned with the key to 
the theatre, which he unlocked himself. " There," 
said he, " go ahead, it is all right now." He then 
went back to his office, followed by myself, and 
resumed his seat. " Tad," said he, half apolo- 
getically, u is a peculiar child. He was vio- 
lently excited when I went to him. I said, 6 Tad, 
do you know you are making your father a great 
deal of trouble ? ' He burst into tears, instantly 
giving me up the key." 

This brief glimpse of the home life of the Presi- 
dent, though trifling in itself, is the gauge of his 
entire domestic character. The Hon. W. D. Kelly, 
of Philadelphia, in an address delivered in that city 
soon after the assasination, said : " His intercourse 
with his family was beautiful as that with his fr *nds# 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 93 

I think that father never loved his children more 
fondly than he. The President never seemed 
grander in my sight than when, stealing upon him 
in the evening, I would find him with a book open 
before him, as he is represented in the popular pho- 
tograph, with little Tad beside him. There were 
of course a great many curious books sent to him, 
and it seemed to be one of the special delights of 
his life to open those books at such an hour, that 
his boy could stand beside him, and they could talk 
as he turned over the pages, the father thus giving 
to the son a portion of that care and attention of 
which he was ordinarily deprived by the duties of 
office pressing upon him." 

No matter who was with the President, or how 
intently he might be absorbed, little Tad was 
always welcome. At the time of which I write he 
was eleven years old, and of course rapidly passing 
from childhood into youth. Suffering much from an 
infirmity of speech which developed in his infancy, 
he seemed on this account especially dear to his 
father. " One touch of nature makes the whole 
world kin," and it was an impressive and affecting 
sight to me to see the burdened President lost for 
the time being in the affectionate parent, as he 
would take the little fellow in his arms upon the 
withdrawal of visitors, and caress him with all the 
fondness of a mother for the babe upon her bosom ! 
Tad, as he was universally called, almost 
always accompanied his father upon the various 



94 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

excursions down the Potomac, which he was in the 
habit of making. Once, on the way to Fortress 
Monroe, he became very troublesome. The Pres- 
ident was much engaged in conversation with the 
party who accompanied him, and he at length said, 
" Tad, if you will be a good boy, and not disturb 
me any more till we get to Fortress Monroe, I will 
give you a dollar." The hope of reward was effect- 
ual for a while in securing silence, but, boy-like, 
Tad soon forgot his promise, and was as noisy as 
ever. Upon reaching their destination, however, he 
said very promptly, " Father, I want my dollar." 
Mr. Lincoln turned to him with the inquiry : " Tad, 
do you think you have earned it ? " " Yes," was 
the sturdy reply. Mr. Lincoln looked at him half 
reproachfully for an instant, and then taking from 
his pocket-book a dollar note, he said : " Well, my 
son, at any rate, I will keep my part of the bargain." 
While paying a visit to Commodore Porter at 
Fortress Monroe, on one occasion, an incident oc- 
curred, subsequently related by Lieutenant Braine, 
one of the officers on board the flag-ship, to the 
Rev. Mr. Ewer, of New York. Noticing that 
the banks of the river were dotted with spring 
blossoms, the President said, with the manner of 
one asking a special favor : " Commodore, Tad 
is very fond of flowers ; — won't you let a couple 
of your men take a boat and go with him for an 
hour or two along shore, and gather a few? — \\ 
will be a great gratification to him." 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 95 

There is a lesson in such simple incidents, — 
abounding as they did in the life of the late Presi- 
dent, — which should not be lost upon the young 
men of this country. The Commander-in-Chief 
of the Army and Navy of the United States, — 
with almost unlimited power in his hands, — the 
meekness and simplicity with which Mr. Lincoln 
bore the honors of that high position, is a spectacle 
for all time. How paltry do conceit and vainglory 
appear in the majesty of such an example. 

" Nothing was more marked in Mr. Lincoln's 
personal demeanor," writes one who knew him 
well,* " than his utter unconsciousness of his posi- 
tion. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find 
another man who would not, upon a sudden trans- 
fer from the obscurity of private life in a country 
town to the dignities and duties of the Presidency, 
feel it incumbent upon him to assume something 
of the manner and tone befitting that position. 
Mr. Lincoln never seemed to be aware that his 
place or his business were essentially different from 
those in which he had always been engaged. He 
brought to every question — the loftiest and most 
imposing — the same patient inquiry into details, 
the same eager longing to know and to do ex- 
actly what was just and right, and the same work- 
ing-day, plodding, laborious devotion, which char- 
acterized his management of a client's case at his 
law office in Springfield. He had duties to perform 

* Hon. Henry J. Raymond. 



96 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

tn both places — in the one case to his country, as 
to his client in the other. But all duties were alike 
to him. All called equally upon him for the best 
service of his mind and heart, and all were alike 
performed with a conscientious, single-hearted de- 
votion that knew no distinction, but was absolute 
\nd perfect in every case." 

« 
XXXII. 

In the Executive Chamber one evening, there 
/rere present a number of gentlemen, pmong them 
Mr. Seward. 

A point in the conversation suggesting the 
thought, the President said : " Seward, you never 
heard, did you, how I earned my first dollar?" 
" No," rejoined Mr. Seward. " Well," continued 
Mr. Lincoln, " I was about eighteen years of age. 
I belonged, you know, to what they call down 
South, the c scrubs ; ' people who do not own 
slaves are nobody there. But we had succeeded 
in raising, chiefly by my labor, sufficient produce, 
as I thought, to justify me in taking it down the 
river to sell. 

"After much persuasion, I got the consent of 
mother to go, and constructed a little flatboat, large 
enough to take a barrel or two of things that we 
had gathered, with myself and little bundle, down 
to New Orleans. A steamer was coming down 
the river. We have, you know, no wharves on 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 97 

the Western streams ; and the custom was, if 
passengers were at any of the landings, for them to 
go out in a boat, the steamer stopping and taking 
them on board. 

" I was contemplating my new flatboat, and won- 
dering whether I could make it stronger or improve 
it in any particular, when two men came down to 
the shore in carriages with trunks, and looking at 
the different boats singled out mine, and asked, 
4 Who owns this?' I answered, somewhat mod- 
estly, ' I do.' 8 Will you,' said one of them, 4 take 
us and our trunks out to the steamer ? ' ' Cer- 
tainly,' said I. I was very glad to have the chance 
of earning something. I supposed that each of 
them would give me two or three bits. The trunks 
were put on my flatboat, the passengers seated 
themselves on the trunks, and I sculled them out to 
the steamboat. 

" They got on board, and I lifted up their heavy 
trunks, and put them on deck. The steamer was 
about to put on steam again, when I called out that 
they had forgotten to pay me. Each of them took 
from his pocket a silver half-dollar, and threw it on 
the floor of my boat. I could scarcely believe my 
eyes as I picked up the money. Gentlemen, you 
may think it was a very little thing, and in these 
days it seems to me a trifle ; but it was a most 
important incident in my life I could scarcely 
credit that I, a poor boy, had earned a dollar in less 
than a day, — that by honest work I had earned a 



98 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

dollar. The world seemed wider and fairer before 
me. I was a more hopeful and confident being 
from that time." 

XXXIIL 

The Hon. Robert Dale Owen was associated in 
a very interesting interview with Mr. Lincoln, 
which took place a few weeks prior to the issue 
of the President's Message for 1863, to which was 
appended the Proclamation of Amnesty. It had 
been understood in certain quarters that such a step 
was at this period in contemplation by the Executive. 
Being in Washington, Mr. Owen called upon the 
President on a Saturday morning, and said that he 
had a matter upon which he had expended consid- 
erable thought, which he wished to lay before him. 
Knowing nothing of the object, Mr. Lincoln replied: 
"You see how it is this morning; there are many 
visitors waiting ; can't you come up to-morrow 
morning ? I shall be alone then ; and, if you 
have no scruples upon the subject, I can give you 
as much time as you wish." Mr. Owen assured 
him of his readiness to come at any hour most con- 
venient, and ten o'clock was named. Punctual to 
the appointment, the hour found him at the house. 
A repeated summons at the bell brought no re- 
sponse, and he at length pushed open the door and 
walked leisurely up the stairs to the reception-room. 
Neither servant or secretary was to be seen. Pres- 
ently Mr. Lincoln passed through the hall to his 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 99 

office, and all was still again. Looking vainly for a 
servant to announce his name, Mr. Owen finally 
went to the office- door, and knocked. 

" Really," said he, " Mr. President, I owe you 
an apology for coming in upon you in this uncere- 
monious way ; but I have for some time been wait- 
ing the appearance of a servant." 

" Oh," was the good-natured reply, "the boys 
are all out this morning. I have been expecting 
you ; come in and sit down." 

Proceeding directly to the subject he had in 
hand, at the same time unfolding a manuscript of 
large proportions, Mr. Owen said : 

"I have a paper, here, Mr. President, that I 
have prepared with some care, which I wish to read 
to you." 

Mr. Lincoln glanced at the formidable document, 
(really much less voluminous than it appeared, be- 
ing very coarsely written,) and then, half uncon- 
sciously relapsing into an attitude and expression 
of resignation to what he evidently considered an 
infliction which could not well be avoided, signified 
his readiness to listen. The article was a very 
carefully prepared digest of historical precedents in 
relation to the subject of amnesty, in connection 
with treason and rebellion. It analyzed English 
and continental history, and reviewed elaborately 
the action of President Washington in reference to 
Shay's and the subsequent whiskey rebellion. 

" I had read but two or three pages," said Mr. 



100 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Owen, in giving me this account, " when Mr. 
Lincoln assumed an erect posture, and, fixing his 
eyes intently upon me, seemed wholly absorbed in 
the contents of the manuscript. Frequently he 
would break in with : • Was that so ? ' ■ Please 
read that paragraph again,' etc. When at length 
I came to Washington's proclamation to those en- 
gaged in the whiskey rebellion, he interrupted 
me with : 4 What ! did Washington issue a proc- 
lamation of amnesty?' 'Here it is, sir,' was the 
reply. ' Well, I never knew that,' he rejoined ; 
and so on through." 

Upon the conclusion of the manuscript, Mr. Lin- 
coln said : " Mr. Owen, is that for me ? " 

" Certainly, sir," said Mr. O., handing him the 
roll. " I understood that you were considering this 
subject, and thought a review of this kind might 
be interesting to you." 

"^ There is a good deal of hard work in that doc- 
ument," continued Mr. Lincoln ; " may I ask how 
long you were preparing it ? " 

44 About three months; but then I have more 
leisure for such a work than you, Mr. President." 

Mr. Lincoln took the manuscript, and, folding it 
up carefully, arose, and laid it away in the pigeon- 
hole marked " O," in his desk. Returning to 
his chair, he said : 44 Mr. Owen, it is due to you 
that I should say that you have conferred a very 
essential service, both upon me and the coun- 
try, by the preparation of this paper. It contains 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 101 

that which it was exceedingly important that 1 
should know, but which, if left to myself, I never 
should have known, because 1 have not the time 
necessary for such an examination of authorities as 
a review of this kind involves. And I want to say, 
secondly, if I had had the time, I could not have 
done the work so well as you have done it." 

This frank and generous avowal — so unlike 
what might be expected, under similar circum- 
stances, from most public men — was exceedingly 
characteristic of Mr. Lincoln. 



XXXIV. 

The morning of the last day of April, Mr. 
Wilkeson, the head of the New York "Tribune" bu- 
reau of correspondence in Washington at that 
period, called upon me with his sister-in-law, Mrs. 
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, well known for her radical 
views on political and social questions, who wished 
an introduction to the President. Later in the day, 
after the accustomed pressure of visitors had sub- 
sided, I knocked at the door of the President's 
study, and asked if I might bring up two or three 
New York friends. Mr. Lincoln fortunately was 
alone, and at once accorded the desired permission. 
Laying aside his papers, as we entered, he turned 
around in his chair for a leisurely conversation. 
One of the party took occasion shortly to endorse 
rery decidedly the Amnesty Proclamation, which 



102 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

had been severely censured by many friends of the 
Administration. This approval appeared to touch 
Mr. Lincoln deeply. He said, with a great deal of 
emphasis, and with an expression of countenance I 
shall never forget, " When a man is sincerely pen- 
itent for his misdeeds, and gives satisfactory evi- 
dence of the same, he can safely be pardoned, and 
there is no exception to the rule." 

Soon afterward he mentioned having received a 
visit the night before from Colonel Moody, " the 
fighting Methodist parson," as he was called in Ten- 
nessee, who had come on to attend the Philadelphia 
Conference. " He told me," said he, " this story 
of Andy Johnson and General Buel, w T hich inter- 
ested me intensely. The Colonel happened to be 
in Nashville the day it was reported that Buel 
had decided to evacuate the city. The Rebels, 
strongly re enforced, were said to be within two 
days' march of the capital. Of course, the city 
was greatly excited. Moody said he went in search 
of Johnson, at the edge of the evening, and found 
him at his office, closeted with two gentlemen, 
who were walking the floor with him, one on each 
side. As he entered, they retired, leaving him 
alone with Johnson, who came up to him, manifest- 
ing intense feeling, and said, ■ Moody, we are 
sold out ! Buel is a traitor ! He is going to evac- 
uate the city, and in forty-eight hours we shall all 
be in the hands of the Rebels ! ' Then he com- 
menced pacing the floor again, twisting his hands, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 103 

and chafing like a caged tiger, utterly insensible to 
his friend's entreaties to become calm. Suddenly 
he turned and said, 4 Moody, can you pray ? ' 
fc That is my business, sir, as a minister of the Gos- 
pel,' returned the Colonel. ' Well, Moody, I 
wish you would pray,' said Johnson ; and instantly 
both went down upon their knees, at opposite sides 
of the room. As the prayer waxed fervent, John- 
son began to respond in true Methodist style. 
Presently he crawled over on his hands and knees 
to Moody's side, and put his arm over him, mani- 
festing the deepest emotion. Closing the prayer 
with a hearty i Amen ' from each, they arose. 
Johnson took a long breath, and said, with em- 
phasis, * Moody, I feel better ! ' Shortly after- 
wards he asked, ' Will you stand by me ? ' 4 Cer- 
tainly I will,' was the answer. s Well, Moody, I 
can depend upon you ; you are one in a hundred 
thousand ! ' He then commenced pacing the floor 
again. Suddenly he wheeled, the current of his 
thought having changed, and said, c Oh ! Moody, 
I don't want you to think I have become a religious 
man because I asked you to pray. I am sorry to 
say it, but I am not, and have never pretended to 
be, religious. No one knows this better than you ; 
but, Moody, there is one thing about it — I do be- 
lieve in Almighty God ! And I believe also in 

the Bible, and I say " d n " me, if Nashville 

shall be surrendered ! ' " 

And NvrtviH* was not surrendered. 



104 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

XXXV. 

I have elsewhere intimated that Mr. Lincoln was 
capable of much dramatic power. It is true this 
was never exhibited in his public life, or addresses, 
but it was shown in his keen appreciation of Shak- 
speare, and unrivalled faculty of story-telling. 
The incident just related, for example, was given 
with a thrilling effect which mentally placed John- 
son, for the time being, alongside of Luther and 
Cromwell. Profanity or irreverence was lost sight 
of in the fervid utterance of a highly wrought 
and great-souled determination, united with a rare 
exhibition of pathos and self-abnegation. 

A narrative of quite a different character fol- 
lowed closely upon this, suggested by a remark 
made by myself. It was an account of how the 
President and Secretary of War received the news 
of the capture of Norfolk, early in the war. " Chase 
and Stanton," said Mr. Lincoln, "had accompanied 
me to Fortress Monroe. While we were there, an 
expedition was fitted out for an attack on Norfolk. 
Chase and General Wool disappeared about the 
time we began to look for tidings of the result, and 
after vainly waiting their return till late in the 
evening, Stanton and I concluded to retire. My 
room was on the second floor of the Commandant's 
house, and Stanton's was below. The night was 
very warm, — the moon shining brightly, — and, 
too restless to sleep, I threw off my clothes and sat 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 105 

for some time by the table, reading. Suddenly 
hearing footsteps, I looked out of the window, and 
saw two persons approaching, whom I knew by 
their relative size to be the missing men. They 
came into the passage and I heard them rap at 
Stanton's door and tell him to get up, and come 
up-stairs. A moment afterward they entered my 
room. 4 No time for ceremony, Mr. President,' 
said General Wool ; 4 Norfolk is ours ! ' Stanton 
here burst in, just out of bed, clad in a long night- 
gown, which nearly swept the floor, his ear catching, 
as he crossed the threshold, Wool's last words. 
Perfectly overjoyed, he rushed at the General, 
whom he hugged most affectionately, fairly lifting 
him from the floor in his delight. The scene alto- 
gether must have been a comical one, though at 
the time we were all too greatly excited to take 
much note of mere appearances." 



XXXVI. 

A great deal has been said of the uniform meek- 
ness and kindness of heart of Mr. Lincoln, but 
there would sometimes be afforded evidence that 
one grain of sand too much would break even this 
camel's back. Among the callers at the White 
House one day, was an officer who had been cash- 
iered from the service. He had prepared an elab- 
orate defence of himself, which he consumed much 
time in reading to the President. When he had 



106 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

finished, Mr. Lincoln replied, that even upon his 
own statement of the case, the facts would not 
warrant executive interference. Disappointed, and 
considerably crestfallen, the man withdrew. A 
few days afterward he made a second attempt to 
alter the President's convictions, going over sub- 
stantially the same ground, and occupying about 
the same space of time, but without accomplishing 
his end. The third time he succeeded in forcing 
himself into Mr. Lincoln's presence, who with great 
forbearance listened to another repetition of the 
case to its conclusion, but made no reply. Waiting 
for a moment, the man gathered from the expres- 
sion of his countenance that his mind was uncon- 
vinced. Turning very abruptly, he said : " Well, 
Mr. President, I see you are fully determined not 
to do me justice ! " This was too aggravating, 
even for Mr. Lincoln. Manifesting, however, no 
more feeling than that indicated by a slight com- 
pression of the lips, he very quietly arose, laid 
down a package of papers he held in his hand, and 
then suddenly seizing the defunct officer by the 
coat-collar, he marched him forcibly to the door, 
saying, as he ejected him into the passage : " Sir, I 
give you fair warning never to show yourself in 
this room again. I can bear censure, but not in- 
sult! " In a whining tone the man begged for his 
papers, which he had dropped. "Begone, sir," 
said the President, " your papers will be sent t<J 
you. I never wish to see your face again ! " 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 107 

Upon another occasion, as I was going through 
the passage, the door of the President's office sud- 
denly opened, and two ladies, one of whom seemed 
in a towering passion, were unceremoniously ush- 
ered out by one of the attendants. As they passed 
me on their way down the stairs, I overheard the 
elder remonstrating with her companion upon the 
violence of her expressions. I afterward asked old 
Daniel what had happened? "Oh," he replied, 
" the younger woman was very saucy to the Presi- 
dent. She went one step too far ; and he told me 
to show them out of the house ? " 

Of a similar character is an incident given 
by "N. C. J.," in a letter to the New York 
" Times " : — 

" Among the various applicants, a well-dressed 
lady came forward, without apparent embarrass- 
ment in her air or manner, and addressed the Presi- 
dent. Giving her a very close and scrutinizing 
look, he said, 4 Well, madam, what can I do for 
you ? ' She proceeded to tell him that she lived in 
Alexandria ; that the church where she worshipped 
had been taken for a hospital. c What church, 
madam ? ' Mr. Lincoln asked, in a quick, nervous 

manner. ; The church,' she replied ; ' and 

as there are only two or three wounded soldiers in 
it, I came to see if you would not let us have it, as 
we want it very much to worship God in.' 4 Mad- 
am, have you been to see the Post Surgeon at 
Alexandria about this matter ? ' ; Yes, sir ; but we 



L08 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

could do nothing with him.' 4 Well, we put him 
there to attend to just such business, and it is rea- 
sonable to suppose that he knows better what 
should be done under the circumstances than I do. 
See here : you say you live in Alexandria ; prob- 
ably you own property there. How much will you 
give to assist in building a hospital ? ' 

" 4 You know, Mr. Lincoln, our property is very 
much embarrassed by the war ; — so, really, I could 
hardly afford to give much for such a purpose.' 

" 4 Well, madam, I expect we shall have another 
fight soon ; and my candid opinion is, God wants 
that church for poor wounded Union soldiers, as 
much as he does for secesh people to worship in.' 
Turning to his table, he said, quite abruptly, 4 You 
wdll excuse me ; I can do nothing for you. Good 
day, madam.' 

" I had noticed two other women who stood just 
back of me. I was fully convinced that I had 
rightly guessed their errand from their appearance ; 
for one of them, whose wicked eyes shot fire, said to 
her companion in a spiteful under-tone, ' Oh ! the 
old brute, — there is no use asking for our passes ; 
come, let 's go.' And they did go, in evident 
wrath; leaving the President to perform more 
pleasant duties." 

The same correspondent witnessed also the fol- 
lowing scene — 

" A couple of aged, plain country people, poorly 
clad, but with frank open countenances, now came 



» SDC MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 109 

forward. ' Now is your time, dear,' said the hus- 
band, as the President dismissed the one preceding 
them. The lady stepped forward, made a low 
courtesy, and said, * Mr. President.' 

" Mr. Lincoln, looking over his spectacles, fixed 
those gray, piercing, yet mild eyes upon her, then 
lifting his head and extending his hand, he said, in 
the kindest tones : * Well, good lady, what can I 
do for you ? ' 

" 4 Mr. President,' she resumed, ' I feel so em- 
barrassed I can hardly speak. I never spoke to a 
President before ; but I am a good Union woman 
down in Maryland, and my son is wounded badly, 
and in the hospital, and I have been trying to get 
him out, but somehow could n't, and they said I had 
better come right to you. When the war first 
broke out I gave my son first to God, and then told 
him he might go fight the Rebels ; and now if you 
will let me take him home I will nurse him up, 
and just as soon as he gets well enough he shall go 
right back and help put down the rebellion. He is 
a good boy, and don't want to shirk the service.' 

" I was looking full in Mr. Lincoln's face. I saw 
the tears gathering in his eyes, and his lips quiv- 
ered as he replied : 

" ' Yes, yes, God bless you ! you shall have your 
son. What hospital did you say ? ' It seemed a 
relief to him to turn aside and write a few words, 
which he handed to the woman, saying : 4 There, 

give that to ; and you will get your son, if ho 

is able to go home with you.' 



110 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

" 4 God bless you, Mr. President ! ' said the 
father, the only words he had uttered ; and the 
mother, making a low courtesy, fairly sobbed : 
' O sir, we are so much obliged to you.' 6 Yes, 
yes ; all right ; and you will find that that will 
bring him,' was spoken in tones so kindly and 
tender, that they have often since thrilled my 
memory." 

XXXVII. 

In the year 1855 or '56, George B. Lincoln, 
Esq., of Brooklyn, was travelling through the West 
in connection with a large New York dry-goods 
establishment. He found himself one night in an 
insignificant town on the Illinois River, by the name 
of Naples. The only tavern of the place had evi- 
dently been constructed with reference to business 
on the smallest possible scale. Poor as the prospect 
seemed, Mr. Lincoln had no alternative but to 
put up at the place. The supper-room was also 
used as a lodging-room. After a tolerable supper 
and a comfortable hour before the fire, Mr. L. 
told his host that he thought he would " go to 
bed." "Bed!" echoed the landlord; "there is 
no bed for you in this house, unless you sleep with 
that man yonder. He has the only one we have 
to spare." "Well," returned Mr. Lincoln, "the 
gentleman has possession, and perhaps would not 
like a bedfellow." Upon this, a grizzly head ap- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. HI 

peared out of the pillows, and said, " What is your 
name ? " " They call me Lincoln at home," was 
the reply. "Lincoln!" repeated the stranger; 
" any connection of our Illinois Abraham ? " " No," 
replied Mr. L., " I fear not." " Well," said the 
old man, "I will let any man by the name of 
1 Lincoln ' sleep with me, just for the sake of the 
name. You have heard of Abe ? " he inquired. 
" Oh yes, very often," replied Mr. Lincoln. " No 
man could travel far in this State without hearing 
of Mm, and I would be very glad to claim connec- 
tion, if I could do so honestly." " Well," said the 
old gentleman, " my name is Simmons. ' Abe ' 
and I used to live and work together when we 
were young men. Many a job of wood-cutting and 
rail-splitting have I done up with him. Abe Lin- 
coln, " said he with emphasis, "was the likeliest 
boy in God's world. He would work all day as 
hard as any of us — and study by firelight in the 
log-house half the night ; and in this way he made 
himself a thorough practical surveyor. Once, dur- 
ing those days, I was in the upper part of the State, 
and I met General Ewing, whom President Jack- 
son had sent to the Northwest to make surveys. 
I told him about Abe Lincoln, what a student he 
was, and that I wanted he should give him a job. 
He looked over his memoranda, and, pulling out 
a paper, said : i There is county must be sur- 
veyed ; if your friend can do the work properly, I 
riiall be glad to have him undertake it —- the com • 



112 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

pensation will be six hundred dollars ! ' Pleased 
as I could be, I hastened to Abe, after I got 
home, with an account of what I had secured for 
him. He was sitting before the fire in the log- 
cabin when I told him ; and what do you think was 
his answer ? When I finished, he looked up very 
quietly, and said, ' Mr. Simmons, I thank you very 
sincerely for your kindness, but I don't think I will 
undertake the job.' ' In the name of wonder,' said 
I, 4 why ? Six hundred dollars does not grow upon 
every bush out here in Illinois.' 'I know that,' 
said Abe, ' and I need the money bad enough, 
Simmons, as you know ; but I never have been 
under obligation to a Democratic administration, 
and I never intend to be so long as I can get my 
living another way. General Ewing must find 
another man to do his work.' " 

I related this story to the President one day, and 
asked him if it w T as true. " Pollard Simmons ! " 
said he : " well do I remember him. It is correct 
about our working together ; but the old man must 
have stretched the facts somewhat about the survey 
of the county. I think I should have been very 
glad of the job at that time, no matter what admin- 
istration was in power." Notwithstanding this, how- 
ever, I am inclined to believe Mr. Simmons 
was not far out of the way. His statement seems 
very characteristic of what Abraham Lincoln may 
be supposed to have been at twenty-three or 
twenty-five years of age. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 113 

Mr. G. B. Lincoln also told me of an amusing 
circumstance which took place at Springfield soon 
after Mr. Lincoln's nomination in 1860. A hatter 
in Brooklyn secretly obtained the, size of the future 
President's head, and made for him a very elegant 
hat, which he sent by his townsman, Lincoln, to 
Springfield. About the time it was presented, 
various other testimonials of a similar character 
had come in from different sections. Mr. Lincoln 
took the hat, and after admiring its texture and 
workmanship, put it on his head and walked up to 
a looking-glass. Glancing from the reflection to 
Mrs. Lincoln, he said, with his peculiar twinkle of 
the eye, " Well, wife, there is one thing likely to 
come out of this scrape, any how. We are going 
to have some new clothes!" 

One afternoon during the summer of 1862, the 
President accompanied several gentlemen to the 
Washington Navy-yard, to witness some experiments 
with a newly-invented gun. Subsequently the 
party went aboard of one of the steamers lying at 
the wharf. A discussion was going on as to the 
merits of the invention, in the midst of which Mr. 
Lincoln caught sight of some axes hanging up out- 
side of the cabin. Leaving the group, he quietly 
went forward, and taking one down, returned with 
it, and said : " Gentlemen, you may talk about 
your 'Raphael repeaters' and * eleven-inch Dahl- 
grens ; ' but here is an institution which I guess I 
understand better than either of you." With that 



114 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

he held the axe out at arm's length by the end of 
the handle, or " helve," as the wood-cutters call 
it — a feat not another person of the party could 
perform, though all made the attempt. In such 
acts as this, showing that he neither forgot nor was 
ashamed of his humble origin, the late President 
exhibited his true nobility of character. He was a 
perfect illustration of his favorite poet's words : — 

M The rank is but the guinea's stamp, 
The man's the gold, for a' that ! " 



XXXVIII. 

• 

In March, 1864, Edwin Forrest came to Wash- 
ington to fulfil an engagement at Ford's Theatre. 
It was announced one day that he was to appear 
that evening in " Richelieu." I was with the 
President, when Senator Harris of New York came 
in. After he had finished his business, which was 
to secure the remittance of the sentence of one of 
his constituents, who had been imprisoned on what 
seemed insufficient grounds, I told the President 
that Forrest was to play Richelieu that evening, 
and, knowing his tastes, I said it was a play 
which I thought he would enjoy, for Forrest's rep- 
resentation of it was the most life-like of anything 
I had ever seen upon the stage. " Who wrote the 
play?" said he. " Bulwer," I replied. " Ah ! " 
he rejoined ; " well, I knew Bulwer wrote novels, 
but I did not know he was a play-writer also. It 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 115 

may seem somewhat strange to say," he continued, 
u but I never read an entire novel in my life ! ' 
Said Judge Harris, "Is it possible?" "Yes," 
returned the President, " it is a fact. I once com- 
menced 'Ivanhoe,' but never finished it." This 
statement, in this age of the world, seems almost 
incredible — but I give the circumstance as it oc- 
curred. 

However it may have been with regard to nov- 
els, it is very certain — as I have already illus- 
trated — that he found time to read Shakspeare ; 
and that he was also fond of certain kinds of poetry. 
N. P. Willis once told me, that he was taken quite 
by surprise, on a certain occasion when he was 
riding with the President and Mrs. Lincoln, by 
Mr. Lincoln, of his own accord, referring to, and 
quoting several lines from his poem entitled " Par- 
rhasius." 

In the spring of 1862, the President spent sev- 
eral days at Fortress Monroe, awaiting military 
operations upon the Peninsula. As a portion of 
the Cabinet were with him, that was temporarily 
the seat of government, and he bore with him con- 
stantly the burden of public affairs. His favorite 
diversion was reading Shakspeare. One day (it 
chanced to be the day before the capture of 
Norfolk) as he sat reading alone, he called to his 
aide * in the adjoining room, — " You have been 
writing long enough, Colonel ; come in here ; I 

* Colonel Le Grand B. Cannon, of General Wool's staff. 



116 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOL'SE. 

want to read you a passage in 4 Hamlet.' ' He read 
the discussion on ambition between Hamlet and his 
courtiers, and the soliloquy, in which conscience 
debates of a future state. This was followed by 
passages from " Macbeth." Then opening to " King 
John," he read from the third act the passage in 
which Constance bewails her imprisoned, lost boy. 
Closing the book, and recalling the words, — 

" And, father cardinal, I have heard you say- 
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven: 
If that be true, I shall see my boy again/' — 

Mr. Lincoln said : " Colonel, did you ever dream 
of a lost friend, and feel that you were holding 
sweet communion with that friend, and yet have a 
sad consciousness that it was not a reality? — just 
so I dream of my boy Willie." Overcome with 
emotion, he dropped his head on the table, and 
sobbed aloud. 

XXXIX. 

William Wallace Lincoln, I never knew, lie 
died Thursday, February 20th, 1862, nearly two 
years before my intercourse with the President 
commenced. He had just entered upon his twelfth 
year, and has been described to me as of an un- 
usually serious and thoughtful disposition. His 
death was the most crushing affliction Mr. Lincoln 
had ever been called upon to pass through. 

After the funeral, the President resumed his 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 117 

official duties, but mechanically, and with a terrible 
weight at his heart. The following Thursday he 
gave way to his feelings, and shut himself from all 
society. The second Thursday it was the same ; 
he would see no one, and seemed a prey to the 
deepest melancholy. About this time the Rev. 
Francis Vinton, of Trinity Church, New York, had 
occasion to spend a few days in Washington. An 
acquaintance of Mrs. Lincoln and of her sister, 
Mrs. Edwards, of Springfield, he was requested by 
them to come up and see the President. The 
setting apart of Thursday for the indulgence of his 
grief had gone on for several weeks, and Mrs. 
Lincoln began to be seriously alarmed for the 
health of her husband, of which fact Dr. Vinton was 
apprised. Mr. Lincoln received him in the parlor, 
and an opportunity was soon embraced by the cler- 
gyman to chide him for showing so rebellious a 
disposition to the decrees of Providence. He told 
him plainly that the indulgence of such feelings, 
though natural, was sinful. It was unworthy one 
who believed in the Christian religion. He had 
duties to the living, greater than those of any other 
man, as the chosen father, and leader of the people, 
and he was unfitting himself for his responsibilities 
by thus giving way to his grief. To mourn the 
departed as lost belonged to heathenism — not to 
Christianity. "Your son," said Dr. Vinton, "is 
alive^ in Paradise. Do you remember that passage 
in the Gospels : * God is not the God of the dead 



118 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

but of the living, for all live unto him ' ? " The 
President had listened as one in a stupor, until his 
ear caught the words, " Your son is alive." Start- 
ing from the sofa, he exclaimed, "Alive! alive! 
Surely you mock me." " No, sir, believe me," re- 
plied Dr. Vinton ; " it is a most comforting doctrine 
of the church, founded upon the words of Christ 
himself." Mr. Lincoln looked at him a moment, 
and then, stepping forward, he threw his arm 
around the clergyman's neck, and, laying his head 
upon his breast, sobbed aloud. "Alive? alive?" 
he repeated. " My dear sir," said Dr. Vinton, 
greatly moved, as he twined his own arm around 
the weeping father, " believe this, for it is God's 
most precious truth. Seek not your son among the 
dead ; he is not there ; he lives to-day in Paradise ! 
Think of .the full import of the words I have 
quoted. The Sadducees, when they questioned 
Jesus, had no other conception than that Abra- 
ham, Isaac, and Jacob were dead and buried. 
Mark the reply : c Now that the dead are raised, 
even Moses showed at the bush when he called the 
Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and 
the God of Jacob. For he is not the God of the 
dead, but of the living, for all live unto him ! ' Did 
not the aged patriarch mourn his sons as dead ? — 
c Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take 
Benjamin also.' But Joseph and Simeon were 
both living, though he believed it not. Indeed, 
Joseph being taken from him, was the eventual 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 119 

means of the preservation of the whole family. 
And so God has called your son into his upper 
kingdom — a kingdom and an existence as real, 
more real, than your own. It may be that he too, 
like Joseph, has gone, in God's good providence, to 
be the salvation of his father's household. It is a 
part of the Lord's plan for the ultimate happiness 
of you and yours. Doubt it not. I have a ser- 
mon," continued Dr. Vinton, " upon this subject, 
which I think might interest you." Mr. Lincoln 
begged him to send it at an early day — thanking 
him repeatedly for his cheering and hopeful words. 
The sermon was sent, and read over and over 
by the President, who caused a copy to be made 
for his own private use before it was returned. 
Through a member of the family, I have been in- 
formed that Mr 4 Lincoln's views in relation to spir- 
itual things seemed changed from that hour. Cer- 
tain it is, that thenceforth he ceased the observance 
of the day of the week upon which his son died, 
and gradually resumed his accustomed cheerfulness 



XL. 

Among my visitors in the early part of May was 
the Hon. Mr. Alley, of Massachusetts, who gave 
me a deeply interesting inside glimpse of the 
Chicago Republican Convention in 1860. The pop- 
ular current had, at first, set very strongly in favor 
of Mr. Seward, who, many supposed, would be 



120 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

nominated almost by acclamation. The evening 
before the balloting the excitement was at the 
highest pitch. Mr. Lincoln was telegraphed at 
Springfield, that his chances with the Convention 
depended upon obtaining the votes of two delega- 
tions which were named in the despatch ; and that, 
to secure this support, he must pledge himself, if 
elected, to give places in his Cabinet to the respec- 
tive heads of those delegations. A reply was im- 
mediately returned over the wires, characteristic of 
the man. It was to this effect : — 

" / authorize no bargains, and will be bound by 
none. A. Lincoln." 

It is unqestionable that the country was not pre- 
pared for the final action of this Convention. In 
various sections of the Eastern and Middle States, 
the antecedents and even the name of Mr. Lincoln 
were entirely unknown. The newspapers announced 
the nominee as the " Illinois Rail-splitter ; " and 
however popular this title may have been with the 
masses, it is not to be denied that it seemed to 
many people a very extraordinary qualification for 
the Presidency. An acquaintance of mine, who 
happened to be in Boston on the evening of the 
day the Convention adjourned, formed one of a 
large group at his hotel, eagerly discussing the 
result. Only one or two of the party knew any- 
thing whatever of the first name on the " ticket," 
and what they knew was soon told. Considerable 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 121 

disappointment could be seen in the faces of those 
composing the circle. One rough-looking sover- 
eign, from Cape Cod, or Nantucket, had listened 
attentively, but taken no part in the conversation. 
Turning away at length, with an expression of deep 
disgust, he muttered : " A set of consummate fools ! 
Nominate a man for the Presidency who has never 
smelt salt water ! " 

Some of Mr. Lincoln's immediate neighbors were 
taken as completely by surprise as those in distant 
States. An old resident of Springfield told me that 
there lived within a block or two of his house, in 
that city, an Englishman, who of course still cher- 
ished to some extent the ideas and prejudices of his 
native land. Upon hearing of the choice at Chi- 
cago he could not contain his astonishment. 

" What ! " said he, " Abe Lincoln nominated for 
President of the United States ? Can it be possible ! 
A man that buys a ten-cent beefsteak for his break- 
fast, and carries it home himself. " 

A correspondent of the " Portland Press " has 
given to the public the following account of Mr. 
Lincoln's reception of the nomination : — 

" In June, 1860, a Massachusetts gentleman was 
induced to take the opportunity, in company with 
several delegates and others interested in the objects 
of the Convention, to go to Chicago and spend a 
few days in visiting that section of our country. In 
a very few minutes after the final balloting, when 
Mr. Lincoln was nominated, it happened that a 



122 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

train of cars started upon the Central Railroad, 
passing through Springfield, and Mr. R. took pas- 
sage in the same. Arriving at Springfield, he put 
up at a public house, and, loitering upon the front 
door-steps, had the curiosity to inquire of the land- 
lord where Mr. Lincoln lived. While giving the 
necessary directions, the landlord suddenly re- 
marked, ' There is Mr. Lincoln now, coming down 
the sidewalk ; that tall, crooked man, loosely walk- 
ing this way. If you wish to see him, you will have 
an opportunity by putting yourself in his track.' 

" In a few moments the object of his curiosity 
reached the point the gentleman occupied, who, 
advancing, ventured to accost him thus : ' Is this 
Mr. Lincoln ? ' ' That, sir, is my name,' was the 
courteous reply. ' My name is R., from Plymouth 
County, Massachusetts,' returned the gentleman, 
and learning that you have to lay been made the 
public property of the United States, I have ven- 
tured to introduce myself, with a view to a brief 
acquaintance, hoping you will pardon such a patri- 
otic curiosity in a stranger.' Mr. Lincoln received 
his salutations with cordiality, told him no apology 
was necessary for his introduction, and asked him 
to accompany him to his residence. He had just 
come from the telegraph office, where he had learned 
the fact of his nomination; and was on his return 
home, when Mr. R. met and accompanied him 
thither. 

"Arriving at Mr. Lincoln's residence, he was 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 123 

introduced to Mrs. Lincoln and the two boys, and 
entered into conversation in relation to the Lincoln 
family of the Old Colony, — the Hingham General 
Lincoln of the Revolutionary army, and the two 
Worcester Lincolns, brothers, who were governors 
of Massachusetts and Maine at one and the same 
time. In reply to Mr. R.'s inquiry, whether he 
could trace his ancestry to either of those early 
families of his own name, Mr. Lincoln, with charac- 
teristic facetiousness, replied that he could not say 
that he ever had an ancestor older than his father ; 
and therefore had it not in his power to trace his 
genealogy to so patriotic a source as old General 
Lincoln of the Revolution ; though he wished he 
could. After some further pleasant conversation, 
chiefly relating to the early history of the Pilgrim 
Fathers, with which he seemed familiar, Mr. R. 
desired the privilege of writing a letter to be de- 
spatched by the next mail. He was very promptly 
and kindly provided with the necessary means. As 
he began to write, Mr. Lincoln approached, and 
tapping him on the shoulder, expressed the hope 
that he was not a spy who had come thus early to 
report his faults to the public. < By no means, sir,' 
protested Mr. R. ; 'lam writing home to my wife, 
who, I dare say, will hardly credit the fact that I 
am writing in your house.' ' O, sir,' rejoined Mr. 
Lincoln, 'if your wife doubts your word, I will 
cheerfully indorse it, if you will give me permis- 
sion ; ' and taking the pen from Mr. R., he wrote 



124 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

the following words in a clear hand upon the blank 
page of the letter : — 

" 4 1 am happy to say that your husband is at the 
present time a guest in my house, and in due time 
I trust you will greet his safe return to the bosom 
of his family. A. Lincoln.' 

" This gave Mr. R. an excellent autograph of 
Mr. Lincoln, besides bearing witness to his hospi- 
table and cheerful spirit. 

" Whilst thus engaged in pleasant conversation, 
the cars arrived that brought from Chicago the 
committee of the Convention appointed to notify 
Mr. Lincoln of his nomination. He received them 
at the door, and conducted them to seats in his 
parlor. On the reception of this committee, Mr. 
Lincoln appeared somewhat embarrassed, but soon 
resumed his wonted tranquillity and cheerfulness. 
At the proper time, Governor Morgan, of New 
York, chairman of the committee, arose, and, with 
becoming dignity, informed Mr. Lincoln that he and 
his fellows appeared in behalf of the Convention in 
session at Chicago, to inform him that he had that 
day been unanimously nominated to the office of 
President of the United States ; and asked his per- 
mission to report to that body his acceptance of the 
nomination. Mr. Lincoln, with becoming modesty, 
but very handsomely, replied that he felt his insuf- 
ficiency for the vast responsibilities which must de- 
volve upon that office under the impending circum- 
stances of the times ; but if God and his country 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 125 

called for his services in that direction, he should 
shrink from no duty that might be imposed upon 
him, and therefore he should not decline the nomi- 
nation. 

" After this ceremony had passed, Mr. Lincoln 
remarked to the company, that as an appropriate 
conclusion to an interview so important and inter- 
esting as that which had just transpired, he sup- 
posed good manners would require that he should 
treat the committee with something to drink ; and 
opening a door that led into a room in the rear, he 
called out ' Mary ! Mary ! ' A girl responded to 
the call, to whom Mr. Lincoln spoke a few words in 
an under-tone, and, closing the door, returned again 
to converse w T ith his guests. In a few minutes the 
maiden entered, bearing a large waiter, containing 
several glass tumblers, and a large pitcher in the 
midst, and placed it upon the centre-table. Mr. 
Lincoln arose, and gravely addressing the company, 
said : 4 Gentlemen, we must pledge our mutual 
healths in the most healthy beverage which God 
has given to man — it is the only beverage I have 
ever used or allowed in my family, and I cannot 
conscientiously depart from it on the present occa- 
sion — it is pure Adam's ale from the spring; ' and, 
taking a tumbler, he touched it to his lips, and 
pledged them his highest respects in a cup of cold 
water. Of course, all his guests were constrained 
to admire his consistency, and to join in his ex 
ample. 



126 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

" Mr. R., when he went to Chicago, had but 
little political sympathy with the Republican Con- 
vention which nominated Mr. Lincoln ; but when 
he saw, as he did see for himself, his sturdy adhe- 
rence to a high moral principle, he returned an 
admirer of the man, and a zealous advocate of his 
election." 

XLL 

In the July following Mr. Lincoln's inaugura- 
tion, an extra session of Congress w r as called. In 
the message then sent in, speaking of secession, and 
the measures taken by the Southern leaders to 
bring it about, there occurs the following sentence : 
" With rebellion thus sugar-coated, they have been 
drugging the public mind of their section for more 
than thirty years ; until, at length, they have 
brought many good men to a willingness to take 
up arms against the government," etc. Mr. De- 
frees, the government printer, told me that, when 
the message was being printed, he was a good deal 
disturbed by the use of the term " sugar-coated, " 
and finally went to the President about it. Their 
relations to each other being of the most intimate 
character, he told Mr. Lincoln frankly, that he 
ought to remember that a message to Congress 
was a different affair from a speech at a mass- 
meeting in Illinois ; that the messages became a 
part of history, and should be written accordingly, 

" What is the matter now ? " inquired the Presi- 
dent. * 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 127 

" Why," said Mr. Defrees, " you have used an 
undignified expression in the message ; " and then, 
reading the paragraph aloud, he added, " I would 
alter the structure of that, if I were you." 

11 Defrees," replied Mr. Lincoln, " that word 
expresses precisely my idea, and I am not going to 
change it. The time will never come in this coun- 
try when the people won't know exactly what su- 
gar-coated means ! " 

On a subsequent occasion, Mr. Defrees told me, 
a certain sentence of another message was very 
awkwardly constructed. Calling the President's 
attention to it in the proof-copy, the latter acknowl- 
edged the force of the objection raised, and said, 
" Go home, Defrees, and see if you can better it." 
The next day Mr. Defrees took in to him his 
amendment. Mr. Lincoln met him by saying : 
" Seward found the same fault that you did, and 
he has been rewriting the paragraph also." Then, 
reading Mr. Defrees's version, he said, " I believe 
you have beaten Seward ; but, ' I jings,' I think I 
can beat you both." Then, taking up his pen, he 
wrote the sentence as it was finally printed." 

Mr. George E. Baker, Mr. Seward's private 
secretary, informed me that he was much amused 
and interested in a phase of Mr. Lincoln's char- 
acter which came under his own observation. It 
was Mr. Baker's province to take to the Presi- 
dent all public documents from the State Depart- 
ment requiring his signature. During the first few 



128 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

months, Mr. Lincoln would read eacli paper care- 
fully through, always remarking, " T never sign a 
document I have not first read." As his cares 
increased, he at length departed from his habit so 
far as to say to the messenger, " Won't you read 
these papers to me ? " This went on for a few 
months, and he then modified this practice by re- 
questing " a synopsis of the contents." His time 
became more and more curtailed, and for the las' 
year his only expression was, " Show me where 
you want my name ? " 

It is not generally known that the speech always 
made by the President, upon the presentation of 2 
foreign minister, is carefully written for him by the 
Secretary of State. A clerk in the department 
ignorant of this custom, was one day sent to the 
White House by Mr. Seward, with the speech to 
be delivered upon such an occasion. Mr. Lincoln 
was writing at his desk, as the clerk entered — a 
half-dozen senators and representatives occupying 
the sofa and chairs. Unable to disguise a feeling 
of delicacy, in the discharge of such an errand, the 
young man approached, and in a low voice said to 
the President : " The Secretary has sent the speech 
you are to make to-day to the Swiss minister." 
Mr. Lincoln laid down his pen, and, taking the 
manuscript, said in a loud tone : " Oh, this is a 
speech Mr. Seward has written for me, is it ? I 
guess I will try it before these gentlemen, and sec 
how it goes." Thereupon he proceeded to read it, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 129 

in a waggish manner, remarking, as he concluded, 
with sly humor : " There, I like that. It has the 
merit of originality" 

" Within a month after Mr. Lincoln's first acces- 
sion to office," says the Hon. Mr. Raymond, " when 
the South was threatening civil war, and armies 
of office-seekers were besieging him in the Exec- 
utive Mansion, he said to a friend that he wished 
he could get time to attend to the Southern ques- 
tion ; he thought he knew what was wanted, and 
believed he could do something towards quieting 
the rising discontent : but the office - seekers de- 
manded all his time. ' I am,' said he, ' like a 
man so busy in letting rooms in one end of his 
house, that he can't stop to put out the fire that is 
burning the other.' Two or three years later, 
when the people had made him a candidate for 
reelection, the same friend spoke to him of a mem- 
ber of his Cabinet who was a candidate also. Mr. 
Lincoln said he did not concern himself much 
about that. It was important to the country that 
the department over which his rival presided should 
be administered with vigor and energy, and what- 
ever would stimulate the Secretary to such action 

would do good. 'R ,' said he, 'you were 

brought up on a farm, were you not ? Then you 
know what a chin fly is. My brother and I,' he 
added, i were once ploughing corn on a Kentucky 
farm, I driving the horse, and he holding the 

plough. The horse was lazy; but on one occasion 

9 



130 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

rushed across the field so that I, with my long legs, 
could scarcely keep pace with him. On reaching 
the end of the furrow, I found an enormous chin 
fly fastened upon him, and knocked him off. My 
brother asked me what I did that for. I told him 
I did n't want the old horse bitten in that way 
"Why," said my brother, "that '« all that made him 

go!" Now,' said Mr. Lincoln, * if Mr. has a 

presidential chin fly biting him, I ? m not going 
to knock him off, if it will only make his depart- 
ment go, 

" On another occasion the President said he was 
in great distress ; he had been to General McClel- 
lan's house, and the General did not ask to see 
him ; and as he must talk to somebody, he had sent 
for General Franklin and myself, to obtain our 
opinion as to the possibility of soon commencing ac- 
tive operations with the Army of the Potomac. To 
use his own expression, if something was not soon 
done, the bottom would fall out of the whole affair ; 
and if General McClellan did not want to use 
the army, he would like to borrow it, provided 
he could see how it could be made to do some- 
thing." * 

XLII. 

One bright morning in May, the Sunday-school 
children of the city of Washington, marching in 
procession on anniversary day, passed in review 

* Raymond's Life of Lincoln, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 131 

through the portico on the north side of the White 
House. The President stood at the open window 
above the door, responding with a smile and a bow 
to the lusty cheers of the little folks as they passed. 
Hon. Mr. Odell, of Brooklyn, with one or two 
other gentlemen, stood by his side as I joined the 
group. It was a beautiful sight ; the rosy-cheeked 
boys and girls, in their " Sunday's best," with 
banners and flowers, all intent upon seeing the 
President, and, as they caught sight of his tall 
figure, cheering as if their very lives depended 
upon it. After enjoying the scene for some time, 
making pleasant remarks about a face that now 
and then struck him, Mr. Lincoln said : " Mrs. 
Ann S. Stephens told me a story last night about 
Daniel Webster, when a lad, which was new to me, 
and it has been running in my head all the morn- 
ing. When quite young, at school, Daniel was one 
day guilty of a gross violation of the rules. He 
was detected in the act, and called up by the 
teacher for punishment. This was to be the old- 
fashioned 4 feruling ' of the hand. His hands hap- 
pened to be very dirty. Knowing this, on his way 
to the teacher's desk, he spit upon the palm of 
his right hand, wiping it off upon the side of his 
pantaloons. * Give me your hand, sir,' said the 
teacher, very sternly. Out went the right hand, 
partly cleansed. The teacher looked at it a mo- 
ment, and said, 4 Daniel, if you will find another 
hand in this school-room as filthy as that, I will let 



132 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

you off this time ! ' Instantly from behind his 
back came the left hand. * Here it is, sir,' was the 
ready reply. i That will do,' said the teacher, 
4 for this time ; you can take your seat, sir.' " 

Mr. Lincoln's heart was always open to children. 
I shall never forget his coming into the " studio " 
one day, and finding my own little boy of two sum- 
mers playing on the floor. A member of the Cab- 
inet was with him, but laying aside all restraint, he 
took the little fellow at once in his arms, and they 
were soon on the best of terms. 

Old Daniel — alluded to on a previous page 
— gave me a touching illustration of this element 
in his character. A poor woman from Philadel- 
phia had been waiting with a baby in her arms for 
several days to see the President. It appeared by 
her storv, that her husband had furnished a sub- 
stitute for the army, but sometime afterward, in 
a state of intoxication, was induced to enlist. Upon 
reaching the post assigned his regiment, he de- 
serted, thinking the government was not entitled 
to his services. Returning home, he was arrested, 
tried, convicted, and sentenced to be shot. The 
sentence was to be executed on a Saturday. On 
Monday his wife left her home with her baby, to 
endeavor to see the President. Said Daniel, " She 
had been waiting here three days, and there was 
no chance for her to get in. Late in the after- 
noon of the third day, the President was going 
through the passage to his private room to get a 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 133 

cup of tea. On the way he heard the baby cry. 
He instantly went back to his office and rang the 
bell. • Daniel,' said he, i is there a woman with a 
baby in the anteroom ? ' I said there was, and if 
he would allow me to say it, it was a case he ought 
to see ; for it was a matter of life and death. Said 
he, "Send her to me at once.' She went in, told 
her story, and the President pardoned her husband. 
As the woman came out from his presence, her 
eyes were lifted and her lips moving in prayer, the 
tears streaming down her cheeks." Said Daniel, 
"I went up to her, and pulling her shawl, said, 
1 Madam, it was the baby that did it.' " 

When Mr. Lincoln visited New York in 1860, 
he felt a great interest in many of the institutions 
for reforming criminals and saving the young from 
a life of crime. Among others, he visited, unat- 
tended, the Five Points' House of Industrv, and 
the Superintendent of the Sabbath-school there 
gave the following account of the event : — 

" One Sunday morning, 1 saw a tall, remarkable- 
looking man enter the room and take a seat among 
us. He listened with fixed attention to our exer- 
cises, and his countenance expressed such genuine 
interest that I approached him and suggested that 
he might be willing to say something to the chil- 
dren. He accepted the invitation with evident 
pleasure ; and, coming forward, began a simple 
address, which at once fascinated every little hearer 
and hushed the room into silence. His language 



184 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

was strikingly beautiful, and his tones musical with 
intense feeling. The little faces would droop into 
sad conviction as he uttered sentences of warning, 
and would brighten into sunshine as he spoke cheer- 
ful words of promise. Once or twice he attempted 
to close his remarks, but the imperative shout of 
' Go on ! Oh, do go on ! ' would compel him to 
resume. As I looked upon the gaunt and sinewy 
frame of the stranger, and marked his powerful 
head and determined features, now touched into 
softness by the impressions of the moment, I felt 
an irrepressible curiosity to learn something more 
about him, and while he was quietly leaving the 
room I begged to know his name. He courteously 
replied, ; It is Abraham Lincoln, from Illinois.' " 

Mr. Nelson Sizer, one of the gallery ushers of 
Henry Ward Beecher's church in Brooklyn, told 
me that about the time of the Cooper Institute 
speech, Mr. Lincoln was twice present at the morn- 
ing services of that church. On the first occasion, 
he was accompanied by his friend, George B. Lin- 
coln, Esq., and occupied a prominent seat in the 
centre of the house. On a subsequent Sunday morn- 
mg, not long afterwards, the church was packed, as 
usual, and the services had proceeded to the an- 
nouncement of the text, when the gallery door at 
the right of the organ-loft opened, and the tall 
figure of Mr. Lincoln x entered, alone. Again in 
the city over Sunday, he started out by himself to 
find the church, which he reached considerably 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 135 

behind time. Every seat was occupied; but the 
gentlemanly usher at once surrendered his own, and, 
stepping back, became much interested in watching 
the effect of the sermon upon the western orator. 
As Mr. Beecher developed his line of argument, 
Mr. Lincoln's body swayed forward, his lips parted, 
and he seemed at length entirely unconscious of his 
surroundings, — frequently giving vent to his satis- 
faction, at a well-put point or illustration, with a 
kind of involuntary Indian exclamation, — "ugh!" 
— not audible beyond his immediate presence, but 
very expressive ! Mr. Lincoln henceforward had a 
profound admiration for the talents of the famous 
pastor of Plymouth Church. He once remarked 
to the Rev. Henry M. Field, of New York, in my 
presence, that " he thought there was not upon 
record, in ancient or modern biography, so 'produc- 
tive a mind, as had been exhibited in the career of 
Henry Ward Beecher ! " 

XLIII. 

One of Mr. Lincoln's biographers, speaking of 
the relations which existed between the President 

and his Cabinet, says : — 

" He always maintained that the proper duty of each 
Secretary was to direct the details of everything done 
within his own department, and to tender such sugges- 
tions, information, and advice to the President, as he 
might solicit at his hands. But the duty and responsi- 



136 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

bility of deciding what line of policy should be pursued, 
or what steps should be taken in any specific case, in his 
judgment, belonged exclusively to the President; and 
he was always willing and ready to assume it." * 

The suppression of a portion of Secretary Came- 
ron's official report for 1861, is a case in point. A 
number of printed copies of the report had left 
Washington before the " incendiary " passage was 
observed by Mr. Lincoln. The New York " Trib- 
une " published it as originally written. Late in 
the evening of the day that these were sent, the 
government printer took a copy to the President, 
saying he thought he ought to look it over and see 
if it was satisfactory. He stated, also, that a num- 
ber of copies of the report had been already ordered 
from the printing-office. Mr. Lincoln glanced over 
the copy placed in his hands, and his eye rested 
upon the passage in question, which had reference 
to arming the slaves. , Instantly he was aroused. 
" This will never do I " said he. " Gen. Cameron 
must take no such responsibility. That is a ques- 
tion which belongs exclusively to me ! " Then, 
with a pencil, he struck out the objectionable clause, 
and ordered measures to be taken at once to sup- 
press the copies already issued. This decided action 
created considerable excitement at the time, as the 
President's policy in reference to slavery had not 
then been indicated. In the light of subsequent 
history, it will be regarded as striking evidence or! 

* Hon. H. J. Raymond. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 137 

the caution with which he felt his way on this intri- 
cate and momentous question. In his own language, 
in the letter to Col. Hodges, he objected, because 
the indispensable necessity had not then arrived. 
To Simon Cameron, however, the honor will ever 
belong of being the first man connected with the 
Administration to strike an official blow at the great 
cause of the war. 

Some time after the first battle of Bull Run, Gen- 
eral Patterson, who had been severely censured for 
his action, or want of action, on that occasion, called 
upon Secretary Cameron, and demanded an investi- 
gation of the causes of the failure of the campaign. 
After listening to his statement, the Secretary said 
that he would like the President to see the orders 
and correspondence, and an interview was accord- 
ingly arranged for the same evening. The result 
is given in General Patterson's own words : — 

u I called at the hour named, was most kindly 
received, and read the papers, to which the Presi- 
dent attentively listened. When I had finished, Mr. 
Lincoln said, in substance, 4 General, I have never 
found fault with you nor censured you ; I have 
never been able to see that you could have done 
anything else than you did do. You obeyed orders, 
and I am satisfied with your conduct.' This was 
said with a manner so frank, candid, and manly as 
to secure my respect, confidence, and good-will. I 
expressed my gratification with and sincere thanks 
for his fairness toward me, and his courtesy in 



138 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

hearing my case, — giving me some five hours o* 
his time. I said that so far as he and the War De 
partment were concerned I was satisfied ; but that 
I must have a trial by my peers, to have a public 
approval, and to stop the abuse daily lavished upon 
me. The President replied that he would cheer- 
fully accede to any practicable measure to do me 
justice, but that I need not expect to escape abuse 
as long as I was of any importance or value to the 
community ; adding that he received infinitely more 
abuse than I did, but that he had ceased to regard 
it, and I must learn to do the same." 

Although the friendly relations which existed 
between the President and Secretary Cameron 
were not interrupted by the retirement of the lat- 
ter from the War Office, so important a change in 
the Administration could not of course take place 
without the irrepressible " story" from Mr. Lincoln, 
Shortly after this event some gentlemen called 
upon the President, and expressing much satisfac- 
tion at the change, intimated that in their judg- 
ment the interests of the country required an entire 
reconstruction of the Cabinet. Mr. Lincoln heard 
them through, and then shaking his head dubiously, 
replied, with his peculiar smile: "Gentlemen, when 
I was a young man I used to know very well one 
Joe Wilson, who built himself a log-cabin not 
far from where I lived. Joe was very fond of 
eggs and chickens, and he took a good deal of pains 
in fitting up a poultry shed. Having at length got 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 139 

together a choice lot of young fowls, — of which he 
was very proud, — he began to be much annoyed 
by the depredations of those little black and white 
spotted animals, which it is not necessary to name. 
One night Joe was awakened by an unusual cack- 
ling and fluttering among his chickens. Getting 
up, he crept out to see what was going on. It 
was a bright moonlight night, and he soon caught 
sight of half a dozen of the little pests, which with 
their dam were running in and out of the shadow 
of the shed. Very wrathy, Joe put a double 
charge into his old musket, and thought he would 
4 clean ' out the whole tribe at one shot. Somehow 
he only killed one, and the balance scampered off 
across the field. In telling the story, Joe would 
always pause here, and hold his nose. ' Why 
did n't you follow them up, and kill the rest ? ' 
inquired the neighbors. * Blast it,' said Joe, 'why, 
it was eleven weeks before I got over killin' one. 
If you want any more skirmishing in that line you 
can just do it yourselves V " 

XLIV. 

The battle of Fair Oaks was fought May 31, 
1862 ; or rather this is the date of the first of the 
series of battles before Richmond, when, as is 
now abundantly established, even by Rebel testi- 
mony, it would have been an easy matter for 
McClellan to have captured what proved to be the 



140 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Sebastopol of the Rebellion. During these terri- 
ble battles, many of our wounded men were sent 
on steamboats and transports to White House 
landing, upon the estate of Mrs. Fitz Hugh Lee, 
wife of the Rebel General. Prosper M. Wetmore, 
of New York city, was, at this juncture, on a visit 
to the army. Very ill himself while on the Penin- 
sula, his sympathies were greatly excited for the 
wounded soldiers, confined, during the broiling 
weather, to the boats, compelled to quench the 
burning thirst created by their wounds with the 
muddy water of the Pamunkey, which caused and 
aggravated disease in a fearful manner. As a ci- 
vilian, he was permitted to go on shore, and there 
found the magnificent lawns and grounds, including 
one of the finest springs of water in the world, all 
under a protective guard, set over the property by 
order of the commanding general ; and, while civil- 
ians like himself were permitted freely to drink at 
the spring, the suffering soldiers were prohibited 
from approaching it ! Mr. W.'s indignation was so 
greatly aroused that, upon reaching Baltimore, on 
his return home, he, with two other gentlemen, 
cognizant of the facts, determined to go to Wash- 
ington and lay the case before the War Depart- 
ment. Upon hearing their statement, the Secre- 
tary of War referred them to Surgeon-Generai 
Hammond, saying that a requisition from him, to 
the effect that the grounds of the estate were 
needed for the wounded, would be instantly re* 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 141 

sponded to by the War Department in the issue of 
the necessary order, taking possession. They im- 
mediately waited upon the Surgeon-General, and 
procured the document required, upon which Sec- 
retary Stanton made out the order, saying, as he 
signed it : " Now, gentlemen, you had better see 
the President also about this matter, and get his 
indorsement of the order." Proceeding to the 
Executive Mansion, they found, as usual, the 
waiting-rooms thronged with visitors ; but, rep- 
resenting to the usher in attendance that their 
business was extremely urgent, and concerned the 
wounded of the army, they were at once shown 
into Mr. Lincoln's presence. It was late in what 
had perhaps been a trying or vexatious day. Very 
briefly, but unceremoniously, the object of their 

visit was stated. In the language of Mr. W , 

" The President listened to the account half impa- 
tiently, saying, as the speaker concluded, with an 
expression of countenance very like a sneer, ' This 
is another raid upon McClellan, I take it ! ' ' Mr. 
President,' was the reply, ' we came here to lay 
these facts before you solely from a sense of duty. 
Had I the power, sir, I would take possession of the 
lawns in front of this mansion for the benefit of our 
wounded men, so many of whom are now dying on 
the Pamunkey, for want of pure air and water. 
After the sights witnessed upon those seven steam- 
boats now lying at White House, I covet every spot 
of greensward my eyes rest upon. What I have 



142 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE 

told you of the actual condition of things at that 
landing is below the truth, as the gentlemen who 
accompany me will confirm to your satisfaction. 
For myself, allow me to say, sir, that I belong to 
that political organization which opposed your elec- 
tion to the Presidency — the same organization to 
which General McClellan is presumed to belong. 
This is no raid upon him or upon you. It is 
simple justice to the wounded and suffering soldiers 
that we ask of you.' Entirely convinced by the 
candor of this reply, Mr. Lincoln then proceeded to 
a minute questioning in regard to the scenes they 
had witnessed ; and when subsequently told that 
they had called at Secretary Stanton's request, to 
secure his approval of the order issued, which em- 
braced only the grounds and spring, ' Not only 
these,' said he, with emphasis, 4 but the order must 
include the house, and everything else which can in 
any way contribute to the comfort of the poor 
boys ! ' And so the order was made to read before 
it left Washington," 

There is scarcely a parallel in history to the for- 
bearance exhibited by the President toward Gen- 
eral McClellan. The incident given above is but 
one illustration of his impatience with those who 
preferred charges against the " Commanding Gen- 
eral." During the last year of his life, however, 
in friendly conversation, he could not refrain some- 
times from an impromptu sarcasm, nevertheless so 
blended with wit that it must, one wculd think, 
effectually disarm all resentment. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 143 

About two weeks after the Chicago Convention, 
the Rev. J. P. Thompson, of New York, called 
upon the President, in company with the Assistant 
Secretary of War, Mr. Dana. In the course of 
conversation, Dr. T. said : " What do you think, 
Mr. President, is the reason General McClellan 
does not reply to the letter from the Chicago Con- 
vention ? " " Oh ! " replied Mr. Lincoln, with a 
characteristic twinkle of the eye, " he is intrench- 
ing" 

XLV. 

One Saturday afternoon, when the lawn in front 
of the White House was crowded with people lis- 
tening to the weekly concert of the Marine Band, 
the President appeared upon the portico. Instantly 
there was a clapping of hands and clamor for a 
speech. Bowing his thanks, and excusing himself, 
he stepped back into the retirement of the circular 
parlor, remarking to me, with a disappointed air, as 
he reclined upon the sofa, " I wish they would let 
me sit out there quietly, and enjoy the music." I 
stated to him on this occasion, that I believed no 
President, since the days of Washington, ever se- 
cured the hearts of the people, and carried them 
with him as he had done. To this he replied that, 
m such a crisis as the country was then passing 
through, it was natural that the people should look 
more earnestly to their leaders than at other periods. 
He thought their regard for any man in his position 



144 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

who should sincerely have done his best to save the 
government from destruction, would have been 
equally as marked and expressive ; to which I did 
not by any means assent. 

I do not recall an instance of Mr. Lincoln's ever 
referring to any act of his administration with an 
appearance of complacency or self-satisfaction. I 
watched him closely during the political excitement 
previous to the Baltimore Convention, to see if I 
could discover signs of personal ambition, and I am 
free to say that, apart from the welfare of the 
country, there was no evidence to show to my 
mind that he ever thought of himself. And yet 
he was very sensitive to the opinions of his friends. 
A governor of a western State, true and loyal as 
the best, at a certain juncture conceived himself for 
some reason aggrieved by Executive action. Hav- 
ing occasion to send in the names of two officers for 
promotion, he said, in his note to the President, 
that he hoped whatever feeling he might have 
against him personally would not prevent his doing 
justice to the merits of the officers in question. 
Mr. Lincoln had been utterly unconscious of hav- 
ing given offence, either by lack of appreciation or 
otherwise, and he seemed greatly touched at the 
aspersion. He said that, if he had been asked to 
say which of all the loyal governors had been most 
active and efficient in raising and equipping troops, 
if he had made anv distinction, where all had done 
so well, it would have been in favor of the gov- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 145 

ernor in question. At another time, when several 
conflicting delegations were pressing the claims of 
different candidates for a position of importance, 
he said that he had been so troubled about the 
matter that he had that day refused to see one of 
the candidates, an old and dear personal friend, lest 
his judgment should be warped. " If I was less 
thin-skinned about such things," he added, "I 
should get along much better." 

When he had thought profoundly, however, upon 
certain measures, and felt sure of his ground, criti- 
cism, either public or private, did not disturb him. 
Upon the appearance of what was known as the 
" Wade and Davis manifesto," subsequent to his 
renomination, an intimate friend and supporter, 
who was verv indignant that such a document 
should have been put forth just previous to the 
presidential election, took occasion to animadvert 
very severely upon the course that prompted it. 
" It is not worth fretting about," said the Presi- 
dent ; " it reminds me of an old acquaintance, who, 
having a son of a scientific turn, bought him a 
microscope. The boy went around, experimenting 
with his glass upon everything that came in his 
way. One day, at the dinner-table, his father took 
up a piece of cheese. ' Don't eat that, father/ 
said the boy ; ' it is full of wrigglers.' 4 My son,' 
replied the old gentleman, taking, at the same time, 
a huge bite, * let 'em wriggle ; I can stand it if they 



can.' " 



10 



146 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

No President ever manifested such a willingness 
to receive and act upon advice and suggestions from 
all sources, as Mr. Lincoln. On a certain occasion 
a leading officer of the government, and the gov- 
ernor of the State he represented, had each a can- 
didate for a high State position. The claims of 
both were urged with great strength. The Presi- 
dent was "in a strait betwixt the two." A personal 
friend from the same State, to whom he mentioned 
the difficulty of deciding the question without giving 
offence to one or the other of the parties, suggested 
that he appoint neither of the candidates, but bestow 
the office upon a certain officer of the army from 
that State, who had distinguished himself, losing an 
arm or a leg in the service, but who had not solicited 
in any way the position. Mr. Lincoln instantly fell 
in with the idea, saying that it seemed to him " just 
the right thing to do ; " and he immediately made 
out the nomination. 



XLVI. 

Among the numerous visitors on one of the Pres- 
ident's reception days, were a party of Congress- 
men, among whom was the Hon. Thomas Shannon, 
of California. Soon after the customary greeting, 
Mr. Shannon said : — 

" Mr. President, I met an old friend of yours in 
California last summer, Thompson Campbell, who 
had a good deal to say of your Springfield life." 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 147 

f< Ah ! " returned Mr. Lincoln, " I am glad to hear 
of him. Campbell used to be a dry fellow," he 
continued. " For a time he was Secretary of State. 
One day, during the legislative vacation, a meek, 
cadaverous-looking man, with a white neck-cloth, 
introduced himself to him at his office, and, stating 
that he had been informed that Mr. C. had the 
letting of the Assembly Chamber, said that he 
wished to secure it, if possible, for a course of lec- 
tures he desired to deliver in Springfield. 6 May I 
ask,' said the Secretary, 4 what is to be the subject 
of your lectures ? ' ' Certainly,' was the reply, with 
a very solemn expression of countenance. 6 The 
course I wish to deliver, is on the Second Coming 
of our Lord.' ' It is of no use,' said C. 'If vou 
will take my advice, you will not waste your time 
in this city. It is my private opinion that if the 
Lord has been in Springfield once, He will not come 
the second time ! '" 

Representative Shannon, previous to the war, 
had been an " Old Hunker " Democrat. Converted 
by the Rebellion, he had gone to the other ex- 
treme, and was one of the radical Abolitionists of 
the Thirty-Eighth Congress. The last Sunday in 
May, the Rev. Dr. Cheever, of New York, deliv- 
ered one of his most pungent, denunciatory anti- 
slavery discourses, in the Hall of the House of 
Representatives. Among the numerous auditors at- 
tracted by the name of the preacher, I noticed Mr. 
Shannon, whose face was not often seen in church. 



148 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

On the way to my hotel, we fell in together. 
"Well, S.," said I, u what think you of that style 
of preaching ? " " It was the first ' Gospel ' ser- 
mon I ever heard in my life ! u was the emphatic 
rejoinder. 

One of Mr. Shannon's California colleagues, the 
Hon. Mr. Higby, told me that having special busi- 
ness one evening, which called him to the White 
House, the President came into the office, dressed 
for a state dinner. In the conversation which 
followed, holding up his hands, encased in white 
gloves, he remarked, with a laugh, that one of his 
Illinois friends never could see his hands in that 
" predicament/' without being reminded of " can- 
vassed hams ! " 

Mr. Lincoln was always ready to join in a laugh 
at the expense of his person, concerning which he 
was very indifferent. Many of his friends will 
recognize the following story, — the incident having 
actually occurred, — which he used to tell with 
great glee : — 

" In the days when I used to be * on the circuit,' 
I was once accosted in the cars by a stranger, w r ho 
said, i Excuse me, sir, but I have an article in my 
possession which belongs to you.' ' How is that ? ' 
I asked, considerably astonished. The stranger 
took a jack-knife from his pocket. ' This knife,' 
said he, 4 was placed in my hands some years ago, 
with the injunction that I was to keep it until I 
found a man uglier than myself. I have carried it 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 149 

from that time to this. Allow me now to say, 
sir, that I think you are fairly entitled to the prop- 
erty.'" 



XLVII. 

I had been engaged in the official chamber until 
quite late one evening, upon some pencil studies 
of accessories, necessary to introduce in my pict- 
ure. The President, Mrs. Lincoln, and the Pri- 
vate Secretaries had gone to the opera, and for the 
time being I had undisturbed possession. Towards 
twelve o'clock I heard some persons enter the 
sleeping apartment occupied by Mr. Nicolay and 
Major Hay, which was directly opposite the room 
where I was sitting ; and shortly afterward the 
hearty laugh of Mr. Lincoln broke the stillness, 
proceeding from the same quarter. Throwing aside 
my work, I went across the hall to see what had 
occasioned this outbreak of merriment. The Sec- 
retaries had come in and Hay had retired; Mr. 
Nicolay sat by the table with his boots off, and the 
President was leaning over the " footboard " of 
the bed, laughing and talking with the hilarity of a 
schoolboy. It seemed that Hay, or " John," as 
the President called him, had met with a singular 
adventure, which was the subject of the amuse- 
ment. Glancing through the half-open door, Mr. 
Lincoln caught sight of me, and the story had to 
be repeated for my benefit. The incident was 



150 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

trifling in itself, but the President's enjoyment of it 
was very exhilarating. I never saw him in so 
frolicsome a mood as on this occasion. 

It has been well said by a critic of Shakspeare, 
that " the spirit which held the woe of * Lear,' and 
the tragedy of ' Hamlet,' would have broken, had 
it not also had the humor of the ■ Merry Wives 
of Windsor,' and the merriment of ' Midsummer 
Night's Dream.' " With equal justice can this 
profound truth be applied to the late President. 
The world has had no better illustration of it since 
the immortal plays were written. 

Mr. Lincoln's " laugh " stood by itself. The 
"neigh" of a wild horse on his native prairie is not 
more undisguised and hearty. A group of gentle- 
men, among whom was his old Springfield friend and 
associate, Hon. Isaac N. Arnold, were one day con- 
versing in the passage near his office, while waiting 
admission. A congressional delegation had pre- 
ceded them, and presently an unmistakable voice 
was heard through the partition, in a burst of 
mirth. Mr. Arnold remarked, as the sound died 
away : " That laugh has been the President's 
life-preserver ! " 

In a corner of his desk he kept a copy of the 
latest humorous work ; and it was his habit when 
greatly fatigued, annoyed, or depressed, to take 
this up and read a chapter, frequently with great 
relief. 

Among the callers in the course of an evening 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 151 

which I well remember, was a party composed of 
two senators, a representative, an ex-lieutenant-gov- 
ernor of a western State, and several private citizens. 
They had business of great importance, involving the 
necessity of the President's examination of volumi- 
nous documents. He was at this time, from an un- 
usual pressure of office-seekers, in addition to his 
other cares, literally worn out. Pushing everything 
aside, he said to one of the party : " Have you seen 
the 4 Nasby Papers' ? " " No, I have not," was the 
answer ; " who is 4 Nasby ? ' " There is a chap 
out in Ohio," returned the President, " who has 
been writing a series of letters in the newspapers 
over the signature of ' Petroleum V. Nasby.' 
Some one sent me a pamphlet collection of them 
the other day. I am going to write to • Petro- 
leum ' to come down here, and I intend to tell him 
if he will communicate his talent to me, I will 
8 swap ' places with him." Thereupon he arose, 
went to a drawer in his desk, and, taking out the 
" Letters," sat down and read one to the company, 
finding in their enjoyment of it the temporary ex- 
citement and relief which another man would have 
found in a glass of wine. The instant he ceased, 
the book was thrown aside, his countenance relapsed 
into its habitual serious expression, and the business 
before him was entered upon with the utmost ear- 
nestness. 

During the dark days of. '62, the Hon. Mr. 
Ashley, of Ohio, had occasion to call at the White 



152 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE 

House early one morning, just after news of a dis- 
aster. Mr. Lincoln commenced some trifling nar- 
ration, to which the impulsive congressman was in 
no mood to listen. He rose to his feet and said : 
" Mr. President, I did not come here this morning 
to hear stories ; it is too serious a time." Instantly 
the smile faded from Mr. Lincoln's face. " Ash- 
ley," said he, " sit down ! I respect you as an 
earnest, sincere man. You cannot be more anxious 
than I have been constantly since the beginning of 
the war ; and I say to you now, that were it not 
for this occasional vent, I should die." 



XLVIIL 

About the first of June I received a call from 
the Hon. Horace Greeley, who was temporarily in 
Washington. Very near-sighted, his comments 
upon my work, then about half completed, were not 
particularly gratifying. He thought the steel like- 
nesses in his book, " The American Conflict," were 
much better. I called his attention, among other 
points, to a newspaper introduced in the foreground 
of the picture, "symbolizing," I said, "the agency 
of the 'Press' in bringing about Emancipation ; " 
— stating, at the same time, that this accessory was 
studied from a copy of the " Tribune." Upon this 
his face relaxed ; — "I would not object," said he, 
" to your putting in my letter to the President on 
that subject." 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 153 

Knowing that he had not been friendly to the 
renomination of Mr. Lincoln, it occurred to me, in 
my simplicity, that if I could bring them together, 
an interview might result in clearing up what was, 
perhaps, a mutual misunderstanding of relative 
positions, — though I had never known Mr. Lin- 
coln to mention the name of the editor of the 
" Tribune," otherwise than with profound respect. 
Leaving my visitor in front of the picture, I went 
to the President's office to inform him of the pres- 
ence of Mr. G. in the house, thinking that he 
might deem it best, under the circumstances, to re- 
ceive him below stairs. In this, however, I " reck- 
oned without my host." He looked up quickly, as 
I mentioned the name, but recovering himself, said, 
with unusual blandness : " Please say to Mr. Gree- 
ley that I shall be very happy to see him, at his 
leisure" 

I have been repeatedly asked to what extent Mr. 
Lincoln read the newspapers. It might have damp- 
ened the patriotic ardor of many ambitious editors, 
could they have known that their elaborate disquisi- 
tions, sent in such numbers to the White House, were 
usually appropriated by the servants, and rarely, 
or never, reached the one they were preeminently 
intended to enlighten as to his duty and policy. I 
recollect of but a single instance of newspaper read- 
ing on the part of the President, during the entire 
period of my intercourse with him. One evening, 
having occasion to go to the Private Secretary's 



154 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

office, supposing the rooms to be vacant, I came 
upon Mr. Lincoln, seated quietly by himself, for 
once engaged in looking over the contents of a 
journal, which he had casually taken up. 

The Washington dailies, — the " Chronicle," 
"Republican," and u Star," — were usually laid 
upon his table, and I think he was in the habit of 
glancing at the telegraphic reports of these ; but 
rarely beyond this. All war news of importance, 
of course, reached him previous to its publication. 
He had, therefore, little occasion to consult news- 
papers on this account. The Private Secretaries, 
however, usually kept him informed of the principal 
subjects discussed editorially in the leading organs 
of the country. 

The journals I became most familiar with, in the 
Secretaries' quarters, besides those mentioned, were 
the Philadelphia "Press" and "North American ;" 
the Baltimore " American " and " Sun ; " the New 
York " Tribune," "Evening Post," "Independent," 
"Times," "Herald," and "World;" the Albany 
" Evening Journal ; " the Boston " Advertiser," 
"Journal," and "Transcript;" the Chicago " Trib- 
une " and " Journal," (the latter valued chiefly for 
the letters of its war correspondent, B. F. Taylor) ; 
the St. Louis " Republican " and u Democrat ; " 
and the Cincinnati " Gazette " and " Commercial." 

Violent criticism, attacks, and denunciations, com- 
ing either from radicals or conservatives, rarely 
ruffled the President, if they reached his ears. It 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 155 

must liave been in connection with something of 
this kind, that he once told me this story. " Some 
years ago," said he, " a couple of 4 emigrants,' 
fresh from the ' Emerald Isle,' seeking labor, were 
making their way toward the West. Coming 
suddenly, one evening, upon a pond of water, they 
were greeted with a grand chorus of bull-frogs, — 
a kind of music they had never before heard. 
4 B-a-u-m ! ' — * B-a-u-m ! ' Overcome with ter- 
ror, they clutched their ' shillelahs,' and crept cau- 
tiously forward, straining their eyes in every direc- 
tion, to catch a glimpse of the enemy ; but he was 
not to be found ! At last a happy idea seized the 
foremost one, — he sprang to his companion and 
exclaimed, ' And sure, Jamie ! it is my opinion it's 
nothing but a " noise ! " ' " 

On a certain occasion, the President was induced 
by a committee of gentlemen to examine a newly 
invented "repeating" gun; the peculiarity of which 
was, that it prevented the escape of gas. After 
due inspection, he said : " Well, I believe this really 
does what it is represented to do. Now have any 
of you heard of any machine, or invention, for pre- 
venting the escape of ' gas ' from newspaper estab- 
lishments ? " 

One afternoon he came into the studio, while 
Mrs. Secretary Welles and a party of friends were 
viewing the picture. Mrs. Welles said that she 
"understood from the newspapers that the work 
was nearly completed ; which appeared to be far 



156 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

from the truth." In reply, I made the common* 
place remark, that the " papers " were not always 
" reliable^ " That is to say, Mrs. Welles," broke 
in the President, " they 4 lief and then they ' re- 
lie!'" 

At one of the " levees," in the winter of 1864, 
during a lull in the hand-shaking, Mr. Lincoln was 
addressed by two lady friends, one of whom, is the 
wife of a gentleman subsequently called into the 
Cabinet. Turning to them with a weary air, he 
remarked that it was a relief to have now and then 
those to talk to who had no favors to ask. The 
lady referred to is a radical, — a New Yorker by 
birth, but for many years a resident of the West. 
She replied, playfully, " Mr. President, I have one 
request to make." "Ah ! " said he, at once looking 
grave. " Well, what is it ? " " That you suppress 
the infamous 4 Chicago Times, 5 " was the rejoinder. 
After a brief pause, Mr. Lincoln asked her if she 
had ever tried to imagine how she would have felt, 
in some former administration to which she was 
opposed, if her favorite newspaper had been seized 
by the government, and suppressed. The lady 
replied that it was not a parallel case ; that in 
circumstances like those then existing, when the 
nation was struggling for its very life, such utter- 
ances as were daily put forth in that journal should 
be suppressed by the strong hand of authority ; that 
the cause of loyalty and good government demanded 
it. "I fear you do not fully comprehend," returned 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 157 

the President, "the danger of abridging the liber* 
ties of the people. Nothing but the very sternest 
necessity can ever justify it. A government had 
better go to the very extreme of toleration, than 
to do aught that could be construed into an inter- 
ference with, or to jeopardize in any degree, the 
common rights of its citizens.' ' 



XLIX. 

A morning or two after the visit of Mr. Greeley, 
I was called upon by a gentleman, who requested 
my assistance in securing a brief interview with 
the President, for the purpose of presenting him 
with an elaborate pen-and-ink " allegorical, sym- 
bolic " representation of the " Emancipation Proc- 
lamation ; " which, in a massive carved frame, had 
b<?en purchased at a recent " Sanitary Fair," in 
one of the large cities, by a committee of gentle- 
men, expressly for this object. The composition 
contained a tree, representing Liberty ; a portrait 
of Mr. Lincoln ; soldiers, monitors, broken fetters, 
etc. ; together with the text of the proclamation, 
all executed with a pen. Artistically speaking, 
such works have no value, — they are simply 
interesting, as curiosities. Mr. Lincoln kindly 
accorded the desired opportunity to make the 
presentation, which occupied but a few moments, 
and was in the usual form. He accepted the 
testimonial, he said, not for himself, but in be- 



158 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

half of " the cause in which all were engaged." 
When the group dispersed, I remained with the 
President. He returned to his desk ; while I ex- 
amined curiously the pen work, which was 
exceedingly minute in detail. " This is quite won- 
derful ! " I said, at length. Mr. Lincoln looked up 
from his papers ; " Yes," he rejoined ; " it is 
what I call ingenious nonsense ! " 

The evening following this affair, on entering the 
President's office, about eleven o'clock, I found 
him alone, seated at the long table, with a large 
pile of military commissions before him, which he 
was signing one by one. As I sat down beside him, 
he presently remarked, " I do not, as you see, 
pretend to read over these documents. I see that 
Stanton has signed them, so I conclude they are 
all right." Pausing here, he read a portion of one, 

beginning with the name of the individual, " 

is hereby appointed adjutant-general, with the 

rank of captain, etc. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of 
War." " There," said he, appending his own sig- 
nature in the opposite corner ; " that fixes Mm 
out." Thus he went on chatting and writing, 
until he had finished the lot ; then, rising from his 
chair, he stretched himself, and said, " Well, I 
have got that job hushed out; now I guess I 
will go over to the War Department before I go 
to bed, and see if there is any news. Walking 
over with him at his request, — to divert his mind, 
I repeated a story told me the night previous con- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 159 

corning a ' contraband ' who had fallen into the 
hands of some good pious people, and was being 
taught by them to read and pray. Going off by 
himself one day, he was overheard to commence a 
prayer by the introduction of himself as u Jim 
Williams — a berry good nigga' to wash windows ; 
'spec's you know me now ? ' " 

An amusing illustration of the fact that whatever 
the nature of an incident related to the President, 
it never failed to remind him of something 
similar, followed. After a hearty laugh at what 
he called this " direct way of putting the case," 
he said : " The story that suggests to me, has no 
resemblance to it save in the ' washing windows ' 
part. A lady in Philadelphia had a pet poodle dog, 
which mysteriously disappeared. Rewards were 
offered for him, and a great ado made without 
effect. Some weeks passed, and all hope of the 
favorite's return had been given up, when a servant 
brought him in one day, in the filthiest condition 
imaginable. The lady was overjoyed to see her pet 
again, but horrified at his appearance. ' Where 
did you find him ? ' she exclaimed. ' Oh,' replied 
the man, very unconcernedly, * a negro down the 
street had him tied to the end of a pole, swab- 
bing windows.' " 



160 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

L. 

A day or two previous to the meeting of the 
Republican Convention, the President read me his 
letter to the " Owen Lovejoy Monument Associa- 
tion," — lately written, and not then published, — in 
which he expressed his appreciation of Mr. Lovejoy 
in nearly the same language I had heard him use 
on a former occasion. " Throughout my heavy 
and perplexing responsibilities here," ran the letter, 
" to the day of his death, it would scarcely wrong 
any other to say he was my most generous friend. 
Let him have the marble monument, along with 
the well assured and more enduring one in the 
hearts of those who love liberty unselfishly for all 
men." A noble tribute, in fitly chosen words ! 

The evening following the reading of this letter, 
he said that Mrs. Lincoln and he had promised 
half an hour to a sort of " artist " who wished to 
"exhibit" before them in the red-room below. 
" What kind of an artist ? " I inquired. " Oh, not 
in your line," he answered ; " I think he is a sort 
of mountebank, or comic lecturer, or something 
of the kind." On my way to my own room, 
I met in the passage the well-known " Jeems 
Pipes of Pipesville," — otherwise Stephen Mas- 
sett, — whom I at once conjectured to be the indi- 
vidual the President had referred to. The two 
rooms communicating by double doors, I could not 
well avoid overhearing a portion of the perform- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 161 

ance, or more properly lecture, which I think was 
announced by the title of " Drifting About." 
Comic imitations of various characters were given, 
among others that of a stammering man, which 
appeared greatly to amuse Mr. Lincoln. I could 
only now and then catch a word of the burlesque, 
but the voice and ringing laugh of the President 
were perfectly distinguishable. When the "lecture" 
ceased, Mr. Lincoln said, " I want to offer a sug- 
gestion. I once knew a man who invariably 4 whis- 
tled ' with his stammering," and he then gave an 
imitation. "Now," he continued, "if you could 
get in a touch of nature like that it would be 
irresistibly ludicrous." " Pipes " applauded the 
amendment, rehearsing it several times, until he 
had mastered it to the President's satisfaction ; and 
I dare say the innovation became a part of all sub- 
sequent performances. 

About this period numerous delegations from 
various religious bodies and associations thronged 
the White House. Among the number none met 
so cordial a reception as that of the " Christian 
Commission," composed of volunteer clergymen 
who had just returned from the Wilderness battle- 
ground. In the brief address by the chairman of 
the occasion, he stated that the group before the 
President embraced those who had been first on 
the field to offer aid and refreshments to the 
wounded of that terrible series t)f battles. In re- 
ply Mr. Lincoln expressed his appreciation of the 
11 



162 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

self-denying services rendered by the Commis- 
sion, in feeling terms. He concluded his response 
in these words : " And I desire also to acid to what 
I have said, that there is one association whose 
object and motives I have never heard in any de- 
gree impugned or questioned ; and that is the 
6 . Christian Commission.' And in c these days of 
villany,' as Shakspeare says, that is a record, 
gentlemen, of which you may justly be proud ! " 
Upon the conclusion of the " ceremony," he added, 
in a conversational tone, " I believe, however, it is 
old ' Jack Falstaff ' who talks about 4 villany,' 
though of course Shakspeare is responsible." 

After the customary hand-shaking, which fol- 
lowed, several gentlemen came forward and asked 
the President for his autograph'. One of them gave 
his name as " Cruikshank." " That reminds me," 
said Mr. Lincoln, " of what I used to be called 
when a young man — ' long-shanks.' " Hereupon 
the rest of the party, emboldened by the success 
of the few, crowded around the desk, and the Pres- 
ident good naturedly wrote his name for each ; the 
scene suggesting forcibly to my mind a country 
schoolmaster's weekly distribution of " tickets ' 
among his pupils. 

LI. 

The " Baltimore Convention," which renomi- 
nated Mr. Lincoln, was convened June 7, 1864 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 163 

It created comparatively little excitement in Wash- 
ington or elsewhere, as the action of the various 
Siate legislatures and local mass meetings had pre- 
pared the public mind for the result. 

Toward evening of the 8th, — the day the nomi- 
nations were made, — Major Hay and myself were 
alone with the President in his office. He did not 
seem in any degree exhilarated by the action of the 
convention ; on the contrary, his manner w r as sub- 
dued, if not sad. Upon the lighting of the gas, he 
told us how he had that afternoon received the 
news of the nomination for Vice-President before 
he heard of his own. It appeared that the de- 
spatch announcing his renomination had been sent 
to his office from the War Department while he 
was at lunch. Afterward, without going back to 
the official chamber, he proceeded to the War De- 
partment. While there, the telegram came in 
announcing the nomination of Johnson. " What ! " 
said he to the operator, " do they nominate a Vice- 
President before they do a President ? " " Why! " 
rejoined the astonished official, "have you not 
heard of your own nomination ? It w r as sent to 
the White House two hours ago." " It is all 
right," was the reply; "I shall probably find it 
on my return." 

Laughing pleasantly over this incident, he said, 
soon afterward, — "A very singular occurrence took 
place the day I was nominated at Chicago, four 
years ago, of which I am reminded t>night. In 



164 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

the afternoon of the day, returning home from 
down town, I went up-stairs to Mrs. Lincoln's 
sitting-room. Feeling somewhat tired, I lay down 
upon a couch in the room, directly opposite a bureau 
upon which was a looking-glass. As I reclined, 
my eye fell upon the glass, and I saw distinctly two 
images of myself, exactly alike, except that one was 
a little paler than the other. I arose, and lay down 
again, with the same result. It made me quite 
uncomfortable for a few moments, but some friends 
coming in, the matter passed out of my mind. The 
next day, while walking in the street, I was sud- 
denly reminded of the circumstance, and the disa- 
greeable sensation produced by it returned. I had 
never seen anything of the kind before, and did not 
know what to make of it. I determined to go 
home and place myself in the same position, and if 
the same effect was produced, I would make up my 
mind that it was the natural result of some principle 
of refraction or optics which I did not understand, 
and dismiss it. I tried the experiment, with a like 
result ; and, as I had said to myself, accounting for 
it on some principle unknown to me, it ceased to 
trouble me. But," said he, " some time ago, I 
tried to produce the same effect here, by arranging 
a glass and couch in the same position, without 
success." He did not say, at this time, that either 
he or Mrs. Lincoln attached any omen to the phe- 
nomenon ; neither did he say that the double 
reflection was seen while he was walking about the 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 165 

room. On the contrary, it was only visible in a 
certain position and at a certain angle ; and there- 
fore, he thought, could be accounted for upon scien- 
tific principles.* 

A little later in the evening, the Hon. Mr. Kel- 
ley, of Philadelphia, came in. As he sat down, he 
took a letter out of his pocket, saying : u Mr. Presi- 
dent, while on a visit home, a week or two ago, I 
took up a number of the " Anti-Slavery Standard," 
in which there happened to be a communication 
from Mrs. Caroline H. Dall, of Boston, giving 
her views of the Fremont movement, and the 
situation generally ; so admirable in its tone and 
spirit, that I could not resist the inclination to write 
to the author, expressing the interest with which I 
had read the article. The result was a reply, which 
I hold in my hand, which seems to me so just and 
able a statement of your position, from the stand- 
point of a true woman, that I have brought it up to 
read to you." Mr. Lincoln nodded assent, and lis- 

* Mr. Lincoln's friend Brooks, of the Sacramento Union, has given 
to the public a somewhat different version of this story, placing its 
occurrence on the day of the election in 1860. The account, as I 
have given it, was written before I had seen that by Mr. Brooks, and 
is very nearly as Hay and myself heard it, — the incident making a 
powerful impression upon my mind. I am quite confident that Mr. 
Lincoln said it occurred the day he was first nominated; for he 
related it to us a few hours after having received intelligence of his 
renomination, saying, "I am reminded of it to-night." It is possible, 
however, that I am mistaken in the date. Mr. Brooks's statement 
that "Mrs. Lincoln" was "troubled" about it, regarding it as a "sign 
that Mr. Lincoln would be reelected, but would not live through his 
lecond term," is undoubtedly correct. 



166 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

tened pensively to the eloquent tones of the Con* 
gressman's voice, who entered into the spirit of the 
letter with his whole heart, — affirming, as it did, 
unwavering confidence in the President ; the sin- 
cerity of his anti-slavery convictions and purposes ; 
and appreciation of the difficulties which had en- 
vironed him, — presenting, in this respect, a marked 
contrast to the letters and speeches of many of the 
so-called radicals. Mr. Lincoln said but little, 
as Judge Kelley concluded; but one or two ex- 
pressions, and the manner accompanying them, 
showed that the sentiments of the writer of the 
letter were gratefully appreciated. 

The day following the adjournment at Baltimore, 
various political organizations called to pay their 
respects to the President. First came the Conven- 
tion Committee, embracing one from each State rep- 
resented, — appointed to announce to him, formally, 
the nomination. Next came the Ohio delegation, 
with Menter's Band, of Cincinnati. Following 
these were the representatives of the National 
Union League, to whom he said, in concluding his 
brief response : — 

" I do not allow myself to suppose that either 
the Convention, or the League, have concluded to 
decide that I am either the greatest or the best man 
in America ; but, rather, they have concluded that 
it is not best to swap horses while crossing the 
river, and have further concluded that I am not so 
poor a horse, but that they might make a botch 
of it in trying to swap ! " 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 167 

Another incident, which occurred in the course 
of the day, created considerable amusement. When 
the Philadelphia delegation was being presented, 
the chairman of that body, in introducing one of 
the members, said : " Mr. President, this is Mr. 

S , of the Second District of our State, — 

a most active and earnest friend of yours and the 
cause. He has, among other things, been good 
enough to paint, and present to our League rooms, 
a most beautiful portrait of yourself." Mr. Lincoln 
took the gentleman's hand in his, and shaking it 
cordially, said with a merry voice, — "I presume, 
sir, in painting your beautiful portrait, you took 
your idea of me from my principles, and not from 
my person." 

Among the visitors, the same afternoon, were 
William Lloyd Garrison and Theodore Tilton. In 
the " Editorial Notes," concerning the convention 
and nominations, in his newspaper, the New York 
" Independent," the following week, Mr. Tilton 
wrote : — 

11 On his reception day, the President's face wore 
an expression of satisfaction rather than elation. 
His reception of Mr. Garrison was an equal honor 
to host and guest. In alluding to our failure to 
find the old jail, he said, — 4 Well, Mr. Garrison, 
when you first went to Baltimore you couldn't get 
out ; but the second time you could n't get in ! ' 
When one of us mentioned the great enthusiasm at 
the convention, after Senator Morgan's proposition 



168 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

to amend the Constitution, abolishing slavery, Mr. 
Lincoln instantly said, — ' It was I who suggested 
to Mr. Morgan that he should put that idea into his 
opening speech.' This w T as the very best word he 
has said since the proclamation of freedom." 



LII. 

I have alluded, on a previous page, to the public 
concerts of the Marine Band, — from the Wash- 
ington Navy-yard, — given every Saturday after- 
noon, during the summer, on the grounds in front 
of the White House ; which, on such occasions, 
were thronged with visitors. The Saturday follow- 
ing the nominations I invited my friend Cropsey, 
the landscape-painter, from New York, — who, with 
his wife, was spending a few days in the city, — to 
come up with Mrs. C. to the studio, which over- 
looked the pleasure-grounds, and presented a fine 
opportunity of enjoying both spectacle and music. 
The invitation was accepted, and the afternoon was 
devoted to my guests. 

Towards the close of the concert the door sud- 
denly opened, and the President came in, as he 
was in the habit of doing, alone. Mr. and Mrs. 
Cropsey had been presented to him in the course 
of the morning ; and as he came forward, half 
hesitatingly, Mrs. C, who held a bunch of beauti- 
ful flowers in her hand, tripped forward playfully, 
and said : " Allow me, Mr. President, to present 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 169 

you with a bouquet ! " The situation was momen- 
tarily embarrassing ; and I was puzzled to know 
how " His Excellency " would get out of it. With 
no appearance of discomposure, he stooped down, 
took the flowers, and, looking from them into the 
sparkling eyes and radiant face of the lady, said, 
with a gallantry I was unprepared for, — " Really, 
madam, if you give them to me, and they are mine, 
I think I cannot possibly make so good a use of 
them as to present them to you, in return ! " 
Chesterfield could not have extricated himself from 
the dilemma with more tact and address ; and the 
incident, trifling in itself, may serve to illustrate 
that there existed in the ci-devant " rail-splitter'* 
and "flat-boatman" — uncouth and half-civilized as 
many supposed him — the essential elements of the 
true gentleman. 

I was always touched by the President's manner 
of receiving the salute of the guard at the White 
House. Whenever he appeared in the portico, on 
his way to or from the War or Treasury Depart- 
ment, or on any excursion down the avenue, the 
first glimpse of him was, of course, the signal for 
the sentinel on duty to "present arms." This was 
always acknowledged by Mr. Lincoln with a pecul- 
iar bow and touch of the hat, no matter how manv 
times it might occur in the course of a day ; and 
it always seemed to me as much a compliment to 
the devotion of the soldiers, on his part, as it was 
the sign of duty and deference on the part of the 
guard. 



170 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE KOUSE. 

The Hon. Mr. Odell gave me a deeply interest- 
ing incident, which occurred in the winter of 1864, 
at one of the most crowded of the Presidential 
levees, illustrating very perfectly Mr. Lincoln's 
true politeness and delicacy of feeling. 

On the occasion referred to, the pressure became 
so great that the usual ceremony of hand-shaking 
was, for once, discontinued. The President had 
been standing for some time, bowing his acknowl- 
edgments to the thronging multitude, when his eye 
fell upon a couple who had entered unobserved, — 
a wounded soldier, and his plainly dressed mother. 
Before they could pass out, he made his way to 
where they stood, and, taking each of them by the 
hand, with a delicacy and cordiality which brought 
tears to many eyes, he assured them of his inter- 
est &nd welcome. Governors, senators, diplomats, 
passed with simply a nod ; but that pale young face 
he might never see again. To him, and to others 
like him, did the nation owe its life ; and Abraham 
Lincoln was not the man to forget this, even in the 
crowded and brilliant assembly of the distinguished 
of the land. 

LIII. 

The opinion of the Attorney-General, Judge 
Bates, as to the safety of Mr. Lincoln's being in- 
trusted with the pardoning power, w^as founded 
upon an intimate knowledge of the man. A nature 
of such tenderness and humanity would have been 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 171 

in danger of erring on what many would call the 
weak side, had it not been balanced by an un- 
usual degree of strong practical good sense and 
judgment. 

The Secretary of War, and generals in com- 
mand, were frequently much annoyed at being 
overruled, — the discipline and efficiency of the 
service being thereby, as they considered, greatly 
endangered. But there was no going back of the 
simple signature, " A. Lincoln," attached to proc- 
lamation or reprieve. 

The Hon. Mr. Kellogg, representative from Es- 
sex County, New York, received a despatch one 
evening from the army, to the effect that a young 
townsman, who had been induced to enlist through 
his instrumentality, had, for a serious misdemeanor, 
been convicted by a court-martial, and was to be 
shot the next day. Greatly agitated, Mr. Kellogg 
went to the Secretary of War, and urged, in the 
strongest manner, a reprieve. Stanton was inex- 
orable. " Too many cases of the kind had been 
let off," he said; "and it was time an example 
was made." Exhausting his eloquence in vain, 
Mr. Kellogg said, — "Well, Mr. Secretary, the 
boy is not going to be shot, — of that I give you 
fair warning ! ' : Leaving the War Department, he 
went directly to the White House, although the 
hour was late. The sentinel on duty told him that 
special orders had been issued- to admit no one 
whatever that night. After a long parley, by 



172 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

pledging himself to assume the responsibility of 
the act, the congressman passed in. The Presi- 
dent had retired ; but, indifferent to etiquette or 
ceremony, Judge Kellogg pressed his way through 
all obstacles to his sleeping apartment. In an ex- 
cited manner he stated that the despatch announcing 
the hour of execution had but just reached him. 
" This man must not be shot, Mr. President," said 
be. " I can't help what he may have done. Why, 
he is an old neighbor of mine ; I can't allow him 
to be shot ! " Mr. Lincoln had remained in bed, 
quietly listening to the vehement protestations of 
his old friend, (they were in Congress together.) 
He at length said : " Well, I don't believe shooting 
him will do him any good. Give me that pen." 
And, so saying, " red tape " was unceremoniously 
cut, and another poor fellow's lease of life was 
indefinitely extended. 

One night Speaker Colfax left all other business 
to ask the President to respite the son of a constitu- 
ent, who was sentenced to be shot, at Davenport, 
for desertion. He heard the story with his usual 
patience, though he was wearied out w T ith incessant 
calls, and anxious for rest, and then replied : " Some 
of our generals complain that I impair discipline 
and subordination in the army by my pardons and 
respites, but it makes me rested, after a hard day's 
work, if I can find some good excuse for saving a 
man's life, and I go to bed happy as I think how 
joyous the signing of my name will make him and 
his family and his friends." 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 173 

Mr. Van Alen, of New York, in an account fur- 
nished the " Evening Post," wrote : " I well re- 
member the case of a poor woman who sought, 
with the persistent affection of a mother, for the 
pardon of her son condemned to death. She was 
successful in her petition. When she had left the 
room, Mr. Lincoln turned to me and said : 4 Per- 
haps I have done wrong, but at all events I have 
made that poor woman happy.' " 

The Hon. Thaddeus Stevens told me that on one 
occasion he called at the White House with an 
elderly lady, in great trouble, whose son had been 
in the army, but for some offence had been court- 
martialled, and sentenced either to death, or impris- 
onment at hard labor for a long term. There were 
some extenuating circumstances ; and after a full 
hearing, the President turned to the representative, 
and said : " Mr. Stevens, do you think this is a case 
which will warrant my interference ? " " With my 
knowledge of the facts and the parties," was the 
reply, " I should have no hesitation in granting a 
pardon." " Then," returned Mr. Lincoln, " I 
will pardon him," and he proceeded forthwith to 
execute the paper. The gratitude of the mother 
was too deep for expression, and not a word was 
said between her and Mr. Stevens until they were 
half way down the stairs on their passage out, when 
she suddenly broke forth in an excited manner with 
the words, " I knew it was a copperhead lie ! " 
H What do you refer to, madam ? " asked Mr. Ste- 



174 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

vens. " Why, they told me he was an ugly look- 
ing man," she replied, with vehemence. " He is 
the handsomest man I ever saw in my life ! " And 
surely for that mother, and for many another 
throughout the land, no carved statue of ancient or 
modern art, in all its symmetry, can have the 
charm which will for evermore encircle that care- 
worn but gentle face, expressing as lineaments of 
ruler never expressed before, " Malice towards none 
— Charity for all." 

Though kind-hearted almost to a fault, neverthe- 
less Mr, Lincoln always endeavored to be just. 
The Hon. S. F. Miller, of New York, called upon 
him one day with the brother of a deserter who 
had been arrested. The excuse was that the soldier 
had been home on a sick-furlough, and that he 
afterwards became partially insane, and had conse- 
quently failed to return and report in proper time. 
He was on his way to his regiment at the front to 
be tried. The President at once ordered him to be 
stopped at Alexandria and sent before a board of sur- 
geons for examination as to the question of insanity. 
" This seemed to me so proper," said the represent- 
ative, " that I expressed myself satisfied. But on 
going out, the brother, who was anxious for an im- 
mediate discharge, said to me, i The trouble with 
your President is, that he is so afraid of doing 
something wrong.' " 

A young man, connected with a New York regi- 
ment, had become to all appearance a hardened 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 175 

criminal. He had deserted two or three times, 
and, when at last detected and imprisoned, had 
attempted to poison his guards, one of whom subse- 
quently died from the effects of the poison uncon- 
sciously taken. Of course, there seemed no defence 
possible in such a case. But the fact came out that 
the boy had been of unsound mind. Some friends 
of his mother took up the matter, and an appeal 
was made to the Secretary of War. He declined, 
positively, to listen to it, — the case was too aggra- 
vating. The prisoner (scarcely more than a boy) 
was confined at Elmira, New York. The day for 
the execution of his sentence had nearly arrived, 
when his mother made her way to the President. 
He listened to her story, examined the record, and 
said that his opinion accorded with that of the 
Secretary of War; he could do nothing for her. 
Heart-broken, she was compelled to relinquish her 
last hope/ One of the friends who had become 
interested, upon learning the result of the applica- 
tion, waited upon Senator Harris. That gentleman 
said that his engagements utterly precluded his 
going to see the President upon the subject, until 
twelve o'clock of the second night following. This 
brought the time to Wednesday night, and the sen- 
tence was to be executed on Thursday. Judge 
Harris, true to his word, called at the White House 
at twelve o'clock Wednesday night. The President 
had retired, but the interview was granted. The 
point made was that the boy was insane, — thus 



17(3 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

irresponsible, and his execution would be murder. 
Pardon was not asked, but a reprieve, until a 
proper medical examination could be made. This 
was so reasonable that Mr. Lincoln acquiesced in 
its justice. He immediately ordered a telegram 
sent to Elmira, delaying the execution of the sen- 
tence. Early the next morning he sent another, 
by a different line, and, before the hour of execu- 
tion arrived, he had sent no less than four different 
reprieves, by different lines, to different indi- 
viduals in Elmira, so fearful was he that the mes- 
sage would fail, or be too late. 

This incident suggests another, similar only, how- 
ever, in the fact that both boys w r ere alleged to be 
irresponsible. A washerwoman in Troy had a 
son nearly imbecile as to intellect, yet of good 
physical proportions. The boy was kidnapped, or 
inveigled away by some scoundrels, who " enlisted " 
him, dividing his bounty among themselves. For 
some time his mother could learn nothing of him. 
At length she was told that he was in the army. 
Alone and unfriended she went to Washington to 
see, in her simplicity, if she could not get his dis- 
charge. The gentleman who related the circum- 
stance to me said that she did not even know to 
which of the New York regiments her son belonged. 
She could get no chance to speak to the President. 
At length she watched her opportunity, and inter- 
cepted him on his way from the War Department. 
The "^sult was, that taking down the lad's name 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 177 

and place of residence, this message was written on 
the back of the card, and sent to the War Depart- 
ment : — ' 

" This poor boy is said to be idiotic. Fifid him, if 
possible, and return him to his mother. 

A. Lincoln." 

" Calling," says Mr. Colfax, " upon the President 
one morning in the winter of 1863, I found him 
looking more than usually pale and careworn, and 
inquired the reason. He replied, with the bad 
news he had received at a late hour the previous 
night, which had not yet been communicated to the 
press, — he had not closed his eyes or breakfasted ; 
and, with an expression I shall never forget, he 
exclaimed, ' How willingly would I exchange places 
to-day with the soldier who sleeps on the ground in 
the Army of the Potomac' n 

And yet, in the face of such evidence, showing 
how the great sympathy and sorrow of the late 
President took hold upon the very roots and springs 
of his nature, there are not found wanting assertions 
that he showed a criminal indifference to the suffer- 
ings of our prisoners at Libby, Andersonville, and 
other places ; and, in proof of this, it is stated that 
there is no record of his ever alluding to the subject 
in any of his public addresses or messages. The 
questions involved in the suspension of the exchange 
of prisoners are difficult of decision. Whoever 
was the cause of this, certainly has a fearful respon- 

12 



178 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

sibility. . That it was the President's fault, I do not 
believe. When the reports, in an authentic form, 
first reached Washington of the sufferings of the 
Union prisoners, I know he was greatly excited 
and overcome by them. He was told that jus- 
tice demanded a stern retaliation. He said to his 
friend Mr. Odell, with the deepest emotion : "i* 
can never, never starve men like that!" "What- 
ever others may say or do, I never can, and I 
never will, be accessory to such treatment of human 
beings ! y ' And although he spoke with the deep- 
est feeling at the Baltimore Fair of the Fort Pillow 
massacre, and pledged retaliation, yet that pledge 
was never carried into execution. It was simply 
impossible for Mr. Lincoln to be cruel or vindictive, 
no matter what the occasion. In the serene light 
of history, when party strife and bitterness shall 
have passed away, it will be seen that, if he erred 
at all, it was always on the side of mercy and mag- 
nanimity. 

LIV. 

At a private dinner-party at Willard's Hotel, 
given by Charles Gould, Esq., of New York, I 
met for the first time the Hon. Hugh McCulloch, 
then Comptroller of the Currency. An ac- 
quaintance commenced, under circumstances calcu- 
lated to inspire in me a sentiment of profound 
respect for this gentleman's character and talents. 
I was much interested, a few days afterward, in an 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 179 

incident in the career of Mr. McCulloch, given me 
by the Rev. John Pierpont, who was an occasional 
visitor at the studio, and who, in his hale old age, 
was occupying one of the subordinate positions in 
the Department. 

The desk at which Dr. Pierpont was occupied 
was in a room with those of a large number of other 
clerks, among whom the tall figure and silvery 
beard of the poet-preacher were very conspicuous. 
One day, just after Mr. McCulloch had entered 
upon his duties in Washington, it was announced 
at the entrance of this room, that the new Comp- 
troller had called to see " Dr. Pierpont." The 
clerks looked up from their books, and at one 
another, inquiringly, as Mr. McCulloch took a seat 
by the poet's desk. " I perceive, Dr. Pierpont," 
said he, " that you do not remember me ? " The 
venerable preacher looked at him a moment, and 
replied that he did not think he ever had seen him 
before. " Oh yes, you have," returned the Comp- 
troller ; " I was a member of Class, in Cam- 
bridge, in 1833 and '34, and used to hear you 
preach. Upon leaving the Law School, purposing to 
take up my residence at the West, I called upon 
you and requested one or two letters of introduc- 
tion to parties in Cincinnati. You gave me two 

letters, one to a Mr. S , and the other to a Mr, 

G , of that city. Those letters, my dear sir, 

were the stepping-stones to my fortune. I have 
not seen you since ; but learning that you were in 



180 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Washington, I told my wife, upon leaving home to 
take the position offered me here, that the first call 
I made in Washington should be upon the Rev. 
John Pierpont." As the Comptroller concluded, 
Dr. Pierpont put on his spectacles, and looked at 
him a moment in silence. He at length said : — - 
" Why, Mr. McCulloch, you are the most extraor- 
dinary man I ever saw in my life ! " " How so ? " 
was the reply. " Why, you have remembered a 
favor for thirty years." 

Dr. Pierpont told me, on another occasion, that 
in the prosecution of a duty once assigned him in 
the Department, he had to review a letter-book, 
containing correspondence with the different officers 
of the government. Among the letters was a 
private note, written by Secretary Chase to the 
Secretary of War, calling his attention to a com- 
plaint, made by the colored people of Cincinnati, 
against certain orders, or officers of the War De- 
partment. The letter closed with these words : — 

it We cannot afford to lose the support of any 
part of our people. One poor man, colored though 
he be, with God on his side, is stronger against us 
than the hosts of the rebellion." 



LV. 

On the 30th of June, Washington was thrown 
into a ferment, by the resignation of Mr. Chase as 
Secretary of the Treasury. The publication, some 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 181 

weeks before, of the " ' Pomeroy ' secret circular," in 
the interest of Mr. Chase, as a presidential candi- 
date, had created much talk, and considerable bad 
feeling in the party. The President, however, 
took no part in the discussion, or criticism, which 
followed ; — on the contrary, he manifested a sin- 
cere desire to preserve pleasant relations, and har- 
monize existing differences in the Cabinet. In 
proof of this, I remember his sending one day 
for Judge Lewis, the Commissioner of Internal 
Revenue, and entering into a minute explanation 
of a misapprehension, which he conceived the Sec- 
retary of the Treasury to be laboring under ; ex- 
pressing the wish that the Commissioner would 
mediate, on his behalf, with Mr. Chase. 

Many sincere friends of Secretary Chase consid- 
ered his resignation, at this juncture, unfortunate 
and ill-timed. The financial situation was more 
threatening than at any period during the war. Mr. 
Chase's administration of the Treasury Department, 
amid unparalleled difficulties, had been such as to 
secure the confidence and satisfaction of the masses ; 
and his withdrawal at such a time was regarded as 
a public calamity, giving rise to the suspicion that 
he apprehended national insolvency. The resig- 
nation, however had been twice tendered before, 
— the third time it was accepted. 

I never saw the President under so much excite- 
ment as on the day following this event. Without 
consultation or advice, so far as I ever could learn, 



182 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

he sent to the Senate, the previous afternoon, the 
name of Ex-Governor Todd, of Ohio, for the suc- 
cessorship. This nomination was not popular, and 
great relief was experienced the next morning, 
when it was announced that Governor Todd had de- 
clined the position. Mr. Lincoln passed an anxious 
night. He received the telegram from Governor 
Todd, declining the nomination, in the evening. Re- 
tiring, he laid awake some hours, canvassing in his 
mind the merits of various public men. At length 
he settled upon the Hon. William P. Fessenden, of 
Maine ; and soon afterward fell asleep. The next 
morning he went to his office and wrote the nomi- 
nation. John Hay, the assistant private secretary, 
had taken it from the President on his way to the 
Capitol, when he encountered Senator Fessenden 
upon the threshold of the room. As chairman of 
the Finance Committee, he also had passed an 
anxious night, and called thus early to consult with 
the President, and offer some suggestions. After a 
few moments' conversation, Mr. Lincoln turned to 
him with a smile, and said : "lam obliged to you, 
Fessenden, but the fact is, I have just sent your 
own name to the Senate for Secretary of the Treas- 
ury. Hay had just received the nomination from 
my hand as you entered." Mr. Fessenden was 
taken completely by surprise, and, very much agi- 
tated, protested his inability to accept the position. 
The state of his health, he said, if no other con- 
sideration, made it impossible. Mr. Lincoln would 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 183 

not accept the refusal as final. He very justly felt 
that with Mr. Fessenden's experience and known 
ability at the head of the Finance Committee, his 
acceptance would go far toward reestablishing a 
feeling of security. He said to him, very earnestly, 
" Fessenden, the Lord has not deserted me thus far, 
and He is not going to now^ — you must accept ! y ' 
They separated, the Senator in great anxiety of 
mind. Throughout the day, Mr. Lincoln urged 
almost all who called to go and see Mr. Fessenden. 
and press upon him the duty of accepting. Among 
these was a delegation of New York bankers, who, 
in the name of the banking community, expressed 
their satisfaction at the nomination. This was 
especially gratifying to the President ; and, in the 
strongest manner, he entreated them to " see Mr. 
Fessenden and assure him of their support." 

I am tempted, just here, to introduce a circum- 
stance which occurred in the course of the day, in 
which the President and myself were the only 
actors. In the solitude of the state dining-room, 
I resumed my work, as usual, that morning ; but 
my mind had been too distracted over night for 
success. Participating in the general solicitude, I 
also had been intently revolving the question of a 
successor to Mr. Chase. Unaccustomed to political 
currents, and rejecting all considerations of this 
character in a candidate, my thought fastened upon 
Comptroller McCulloch, as the man for the crisis. 
His name, at that time, singular as it may seem, 



184 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

had not been suggested by any one, so far as I 
knew, — certainly no newspaper had advocated his 
merits or claims. I was at length impelled, by the 
force of the convictions which engaged my mind, 
to lay down my palette and brushes, and go up- 
stairs and state them to the President. 

Improving the first opportunity when we were 
left alone, I said, half playfully, — " Mr. President, 
would you like the opinion of a painter as to who 
would make a good Secretary of the Treasury?" 
He looked at me a moment, and said : " Yes, I 
think I w r ould. What is your advice ? " Said I, 
" Nominate Hugh McCulloch." " Why," said he, 
"what do you know of McCulloch?" "Mr. 
President," I rejoined, " you know painters are 
thought generally to have very little knowledge of 
financial matters. I admit that this is true, so far 
as / am concerned ; but I do claim to know some- 
thing of men, from the study of character as ex- 
pressed in faces. Now, in my humble judgment, 
McCulloch is the most suitable man in the com- 
munity for the position. First ; his ability and in- 
tegrity are unquestionable. Second ; as Comptroller 
of the Currency, he is fully acquainted with the 
past, present, and proposed future policy of Secre- 
tary Chase, and the entire ' machinery ' of the 
Department. Third ; he is a practical financier. 
Having made finance the study of his life, it is 
obvious he is already educated to the position ; 
whereas, a man taken from the political arena 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 185 

would have everything to learn, and then even, 
his judgment would be distrusted." Upon this Mr. 
Lincoln said, with emphasis, — "I believe McCul- 
loch is a very good man I " I think he repeated 
this once or twice. My errand accomplished, I 
returned to my labor, satisfied that the instincts of 
the President could be safely trusted with this, as 
with other matters ; and that, though he might 
temporarily err, he would ultimately solve the ques- 
tion satisfactorily. 



LVI. 

Much has been said and written, since Mr. Lin- 
coln's death, in regard to his religious experience 
and character. Two or three stories have been 
published, bearing upon this point, which I have 
never been able to trace to a reliable source ; and I 
feel impelled to state my belief that the facts in the 
case — if there were such — have received in some 
way an unwarranted embellishment. Of all men 
in the world, the late President was the most unaf- 
fected and truthful. He rarely or never used lan- 
guage loosely or carelessly, or for the sake of com- 
pliment. He was the most indifferent to the effect 
he was producing, either upon official representatives 
or the common people, of any man ever in public 
position. 

In the ordinary acceptation of the term, I 
would scarcely have called Mr. Lincoln a religious 



186 SEX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

man, — and yet I believe him to have been a 
sincere Christian. A constitutional tendency to 
dwell upon sacred things, an emotional nature 
which finds ready expression in religious conversa- 
tion and revival meetings, the culture and develop- 
ment of the devotional element till the expression 
of such thought and experience becomes habitual, 
were not among his characteristics. Doubtless he 
felt as deeply upon the great questions of the soul 
and eternity as any other thoughtful man ; but the 
very tenderness and humility of his nature would 
not permit the exposure of his inmost convictions, 
except upon the rarest occasions, and to his most 
intimate friends. And yet, aside from emotional 
expression, I believe no man had a more abiding 
sense of his dependence upon God, or faith in the 
Divine government, and in the power and ultimate 
triumph of Truth and Right in the world. The 
Rev. J. P. Thompson, of New York, in an ad- 
mirable discourse upon the life and character of 
the departed President, very justly observed : " It 
is not necessary to appeal to apocryphal stories 
— which illustrate as much the assurance of his 
visitors as the simplicity of his faith — for proof of 
Mr. Lincoln's' Christian character." If his daily 
life and various public addresses and writings do 
not show this, surely nothing can demonstrate it. 

Fortunately there is sufficient material before the 
public, upon which to form a judgment in this re- 
spect, without resorting to apocryphal resources. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 187 

The Rev. Mr. Willets, of Brooklyn, gave me 
an account of a conversation with Mr. Lincoln, on 
the part of a lady of his acquaintance, connected 
with the " Christian Commission," who in the pros- 
ecution of her duties had several interviews with 
him. The President, it seemed, had been much 
impressed with the devotion and earnestness of 
purpose manifested by the lady, and on one occa- 
sion, after she had discharged the object of her 

visit, he said to her : u Mrs. , I have formed a 

high opinion of your Christian character, and now, 
as we are alone, I have a mind to ask you to give 
me, in brief, your idea of wHat constitutes a true 
religious experience." The lady replied at some 
length, stating that, in her judgment, it consisted 
of a conviction of one's own sinfulness and weak- 
ness, and personal need of the Saviour for strength 
and support ; that views of mere doctrine might 
and would differ, but when one was really brought 
to feel his need of Divine help, and to seek the aid 
of the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance, it 
was satisfactory evidence of his having been born 
again. This was the substance of her reply. When 
she had concluded, Mr. Lincoln was very thought- 
ful for a few moments. He at length said, very 
earnestly, " If what you have told me is really a 
correct view of this great subject, I think I can say 
with sincerity, that I hope I am a Christian. I 
had lived," he continued, " until my boy Willie 
died, without realizing fully these things. That 



188 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

blow overwhelmed me. It showed me my weak- 
ness as I had never felt it before, and if I can take 
what you have stated as a test, I think I can safely 
say that I know something of that change of which 
you speak ; and I will further add, that it has been 
my intention for some time, at a suitable opportu- 
nity, to make a public religious profession." 

Mr. Noah Brooks, in some " reminiscences," al- 
ready quoted from in these pages, gives the follow- 
ing upon this subject : — 

" Just after the last Presidential election he said, 
' Being only mortal, after all, I should have been a 
little mortified if I had been beaten in this canvass ; 
but that sting would have been more than compen- 
sated by the thought that the people had notified 
me that all my official responsibilities were soon to 
be lifted off my back.' In reply to the remark 
that he might remember that in all these cares he 
was daily remembered by those who prayed, not to 
be heard of men, as no man had ever before been 
remembered, he caught at the homely phrase, and 
said, ' Yes, I like that phrase, " not to be heard of 
men," and guess it is generally true, as you say ; at 
least, I have been told so, and I have been a good 
deal helped by just that thought.' Then he sol- 
emnly and slowly added : ' I should be the most 
presumptuous blockhead upon this footstool, if I 
for one day thought that I could discharge the 
duties which have come upon me since I came 
into this place, without the aid and enlighten- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 189 

ment of One who is stronger and wiser than all 
others.* " 

" At another time he said cheerfully, c I am very 
sure that if I do not go away from here a wiser 
man, I shall go away a better man, for having 
learned here what a very poor sort of a man I am.' 
Afterwards, referring to what he called a change of 
heart, he said he did not remember any precise 
time when he passed through any special change of 
purpose, or of heart ; but he would say, that his 
own election to office, and the crisis immediately 
following, influentially determined him in what he 
called c a process of crystallization,' then going on 
in his mind. Reticent as he was, and shy of dis- 
coursing much of his own mental exercises, these 
few utterances now have a value with those who 
knew him, which his dying words would scarcely 
have possessed." 

" On Thursday of a certain week, two ladies, 
from Tennessee, came before the President, asking 
the release of their husbands, held as prisoners of 
war at Johnson's Island. They were put off until 
Friday, when they came again, and were again put 
off until Saturday. At each of the interviews one 
of the ladies urged that her husband was a religious 
man. On Saturday, when the President ordered 
the release of the prisoner, he said to this lady, — 
4 You say your husband is a religious man ; tell 
him, when you meet him, that I say I am not much 
of a judge of religion, but that in my opinion the 



190 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

religion which sets men to rebel and fight against 
their government, because, as they think, that gov- 
ernment does not sufficiently help some men to eat 
their bread in the sweat of other men's faces, is not 
the sort of religion upon which people can get to 
heaven.' " 

" On an occasion I shall never forget," says the 
Hon. H. C. Deming, of Connecticut, " the conver- 
sation turned upon religious subjects, and Mr. Lin- 
coln made this impressive remark: 'I have never 
united myself to any church, because I have found 
difficulty in giving my assent, without mental res- 
ervation, to the long, complicated statements of 
Christian doctrine which characterize their Articles 
of Belief and Confessions of Faith. When any 
church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualifi- 
cation for membership,' he continued, « the Saviour's 
condensed statement of the substance of both Law 
and Gospel, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart, and w r ith all thy soul, and with 
all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself," that 
church will I join with all my heart and all my 
soul.' " 

At a dinner-party in Washington, composed 
mainly of opponents of the war and the adminis- 
tration, Mr. Lincoln's course and policy was, as 
usual with this class, the subject of vehement de 
nunciation. This had gone on for some time, when 
one of the company, who had taken no part in the 
discussion, asked the privilege of saying a few words. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 191 

" Gentlemen," said he, " you may talk as you 
please about Mr. Lincoln's capacity; I don't be- 
lieve him to be the ablest statesman in America, by 
any means, and I voted against him on both occa- 
sions of his candidacy. But I happened to see, or, 
rather, to hear something, the other day, that con- 
vinced me that, however deficient he may be in the 
head, he is all right in the heart. I was up at 
the White House, having called to see the Pres- 
ident on business. I was shown into the office 
of his private secretary, and told that Mr. Lincoln 
was busy just then, but would be disengaged in a 
short time. While waiting, I heard a very earnest 
prayer being uttered in a loud female voice in the 
adjoining room. I inquired what it meant, and was 
told that an old Quaker lady, a friend of the Presi- 
dent's, had called that afternoon and taken tea at 
the White House, and that she was then praying 
with Mr. Lincoln. After the lapse of a few min- 
utes the prayer ceased, and the President, accom- 
panied by a Quakeress not less than eighty years 
old, entered the room where I was sitting. I made 
up my mind then, gentlemen, that Mr. Lincoln was 
not a bad man ; and I don't think it will be easy to 
efface the impression that the scene I witnessed and 
the voice I heard made on my mind ! " 

Nothing has been given to the public since Mr. 
Lincoln's death, more interesting and valuable than 
the following, from the pen of Dr. Holland : — * 

* Holland's Life, of Abraham Lincoln, 



192 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

" At the time of the nominations at Chicago, 
Mr, Newton Bateman, Superintendent of Public 
Instruction for the State of Illinois, occupied a 
room adjoining and opening into the Executive 
Chamber at Springfield. Frequently this door was 
open during Mr. Lincoln's receptions, and through- 
out the seven months or more of his occupation, he 
saw him nearly every day. Often when Mr. Lin- 
coln was tired, he closed the door against all in- 
truders, and called Mr. Bateman into his room for a 
quiet talk. On one of these occasions Mr. Lincoln 
took up a book containing a careful canvass of the 
city of Springfield in which he lived, showing the 
candidate for whom each citizen had declared it his 
intention to vote in the approaching election. Mr. 
Lincoln's friends had, doubtless at his own request, 
placed the result of the canvass in his hands. This 
was towards the close of October, and only a few 
days before election. Calling Mr. Bateman to a 
seat by his side, having previously locked all the 
doors, he said : 4 Let us look over this book ; I wish 
particularly to see how the ministers of Springfield 
are going to vote.' The leaves were turned, one 
by one, and as the names were examined Mr. Lin- 
coln frequently asked if this one and that were not 
a minister, or an elder, or a member of such or 
such church, and sadly expressed his surprise on 
receiving an affirmative answer. In that manner 
they went through the book, and then he closed it 
and sat silently for some minutes, regarding a mem- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 193 

orandum in pencil which lay before him. At length 
he turned to Mr. Bateman, with a face full of sad- 
ness, and said : ' Here are twenty-three ministers, 
of different denominations, and all of them are 
against me but three ; and here are a great many 
prominent members of the churches, a very large 
majority are against me. Mr. Bateman, I am not 
a Christian, — God knows I would be one, — but I 
have carefully read the Bible, and I do not so 
understand this book ; ' and he drew forth a pocket 
New Testament. ' These men well know,' he con- 
tinued, ' that I am for freedom in the Territories, 
freedom everywhere as free as the Constitution and 
the laws will permit, and that my opponents are for 
slavery. They know this, and yet, with this book 
in their hands, in the light of which human bondage 
cannot live a moment, they are going to vote against 
me ; I do not understand it at all.' 

" Here Mr. Lincoln paused, — paused for long 
minutes, — his features surcharged with emotion. 
Then he rose and walked up and down the recep- 
tion-room in the effort to retain or regain his self- 
possession. Stopping at last, he said, with a trem- 
bling voice and his cheeks wet with tears : ' I know 
there is a God, and that He hates injustice and 
slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that 
his hand is in it. If He has a place and w r ork for 
me — and I think He has — I believe I am ready. 
I am nothing, but Truth is everything. [ know I 
am right, because I know that liberty is right, for 

13 



194 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Christ teaches it, and Christ is God. I have told 
them that a house divided against itself cannot 
stand ; and Christ and Reason say the same ; and 
they will find it so.' 

" ' Douglas don't care whether slavery is voted 
up or down, but God cares, and humanity cares, 
and I care ; and with God's help I shall not fail. 
I may not see the end ; but it will come, and I 
shall be vindicated ; and these men will find that 
they have not read their Bibles right.' 

" Much of this was uttered as if he was speaking 
to himself, and with a sad, earnest solemnity of 
manner impossible to be described. After a pause, 
he resumed : ' Does n't it appear strange that men 
can ignore the moral aspect of this contest ? A rev- 
elation could not make it plainer to me that slavery 
or the Government must be destroved. The future 
would be something awful, as I look at it, but for 
this rock on which I stand,' (alluding to the Testa- 
ment which he still held in his hand,) * especially 
with the knowledge of how these ministers are 
going to vote. It seems as if God had borne with 
this thing [slavery] until the very teachers of re- 
ligion had come to defend it from the Bible, and to 
claim for it a divine character and sanction ; and 
now the cup of iniquity is full, and the vials of 
wrath will be poured out.' After this the conver- 
sation was continued for a long time. Everything 
he said was of a peculiarly deep, tender, and relig- 
ious tone, and all was tinged with a touching mel- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 19i> 

ancholy. He repeatedly referred to his conviction 
that the day of wrath was at hand, and that he was 
to be an actor in the terrible struggle which would 
issue in the overthrow of slavery, though he might 
not live to see the end. 

u After further reference to a belief in Divine 
Providence, and the fact of God in history, the con- 
versation turned upon prayer. He freely stated his 
belief in the duty, privilege, and efficacy of prayer, 
and intimated, in no unmistakable terms, that he had 
sought in that way the Divine guidance and favor. 
The effect of this conversation upon the mind of Mr. 
Bateman, a Christian gentleman whom Mr. Lincoln 
profoundly respected, was to convince him that Mr. 
Lincoln had, in his quiet way, found a path to the 
Christian standpoint — that he had found God, 
and rested on the eternal truth of God. As the 
two men were about to separate, Mr. Bateman 
remarked : 6 1 have not supposed that you were 
accustomed to think so much upon this class of 
subjects ; certainly your friends generally are igno- 
rant of the sentiments you have expressed to me.' 
He replied quickly : 4 1 know they are, but I think 
more on these subjects than upon all others, and I 
have done so for years ; and I am willing you 
should know it.' " 

Schuyler Colfax once said to me that " Mr. 
Lincoln had two ruling ideas, or principles, which 
governed his life. The first was hatred of slavery, 
which he inherited in part from his parents ; the 



196 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

other was sympathy with the lowly born and hum- 
ble, and the desire to lift them up." I know of no 
better epitaph for his tombstone than this, save 
that suggested by Theodore Tilton, the editor of 
the New York " Independent," — " He bound the 
nation, and unbound the slave." 



LVII. 

On the Fourth of July an unprecedented event 
was witnessed in Washington. By special consent 
of the President, the White House grounds were 
granted to the colored people of the city for a grand 
Sunday-school festival, and never did they present 
a busier or more jubilant scene. Inside the grounds 
a platform was erected, upon which accommoda- 
tions were placed for speakers. Around this were 
rows of benches, which, during the greater part 
of the day, were not only well filled but crowded. 
Meanwhile groups reposed under every tree or 
walked to and fro along the shaded paths. From 
the thick-leaved branches of the trees were sus- 
pended swings, of which all, both old and young, 
made abundant use. Every contrivance which could 
add to the pleasure of the time was brought into 
energetic requisition, and altogether no celebration 
of the day presented a greater appearance of enjoy- 
ment and success. 

By the Act of Emancipation, Mr. Lincoln built 
for himself the first place in the affections of the 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 197 

African race on this continent. The love and rev- 
erence manifested for his name and person on all 
occasions during the last two years of his life, by 
this down-trodden people, were always remarkable, 
and sometimes of a thrilling character. In the lan- 
guage of one of the poor creatures who stood weep- 
ing and moaning at the gateway of the avenue in 
front of the White House, while the beloved re- 
mains were lying in state in the East Room, " they 
had him." 

No public testimonial of regard, it is safe to say, 
gave Mr. Lincoln more sincere pleasure during his 
entire public life, than that presented by the colored 
people of the city of Baltimore, in the summer of 
1 864, consisting of an elegant copy of the Holy 
Bible. The volume was of the usual pulpit size, 
bound in violet-colored velvet. The corners were 
bands of solid gold, and carved upon a plate also of 
gold, not less than one fourth of an inch thick. Upon 
the left-hand cover, was a design representing the 
President in a cotton-field knocking the shackles off 
the wrists of a slave, who held one hand aloft as if 
invoking blessings upon the head of his benefactor, 
— at whose feet was a scroll upon which was writ- 
ten " Emancipation " ; upon the other cover was a 
similar plate bearing the inscription : — 

"To Abraham Lincoln, President of the United 
States, the friend of Universal Freedom, From the loyal 
colored people of Baltimore, as a to"ken of respect and 
gratitude. Baltimore, July 4th, 1864." 



198 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

The presentation was made by a committee of 
colored people, consisting of three clergymen and 
two laymen, who were received by the President in 
the most cordial manner, after which the Rev. S. 
W. Chase, on the part of the committee, said : — 

" Mr. President : The loyal colored people of Balti- 
more have delegated to us the authority to present this 
Bible, as a token of their appreciation of your humane 
part towards the people of our race. While all the na- 
tion are offering their tributes of respect, we cannot let 
the occasion pass by without tendering ours. Since we 
have been incorporated in the American family we have 
been true and loyal, and we now stand by, ready to de- 
fend the country. We are ready to be armed and trained 
in military matters, in order to protect and defend the 
Star-spangled Banner. 

" Our hearts will ever feel the most unbounded gratitude 
towards you. We come forward to present a copy of the 
Holy Scriptures as a token of respect to you for your ac- 
tive part in the cause of emancipation. This great event 
will be a matter of history. In future, when our sons 
shall ask what mean these tokens, they will be told of 
your mighty acts, and rise up and call you blessed. 

" The loyal colored people will remember your Excel- 
lency at the throne of Divine Grace. May the King 
Eternal, an all-wise Providence, protect and keep you, 
and when you pass from this world, may you be borne to 
the bosom of your Saviour and God." 

The President, in reply, said : — 
* It would be a very fitting occasion to make a response 
at length to the very appropriate address which you have 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 198 

just made. I would do so if I were prepared. I would 
promise you to make a response in writing, had not expe- 
rience taught me that business will not allow me to do so. 
I can only say now, as I have often said before, it has 
always been a sentiment with me that all mankind should 
be free. 

" So far as I have been able, so far as came within my 
sphere, I have always acted as I believed was right and 
just, and done all I could for the good of mankind. I 
have, in letters and documents sent forth from this office, 
expressed myself better than I can now. In regard to 
the great book, I have only to say, it is the best gift 
which God has ever given man. 

" All the good from the Saviour of the World is com- 
municated to us through this book. But for that book 
we could not know right from wrong. All those things 
desirable to man are contained in it. I return you my 
sincere thanks for this very elegant copy of the great 
book of God which you present." 

After some time spent in the examination of the 
gift, which drew out many expressions of admiration 
from the President, the party withdrew, Mr. Lin- 
coln taking each of them by the hand as they passed 
out. 

Caroline Johnson, an estimable colored woman 
of Philadelphia, an active nurse in the hospitals 
during the war, who had once been a slave, as an 
expression of reverence and affection for Presi- 
dent Lincoln, prepared, with much taste and in- 
genuity, a superb collection of wax fruits, together 
with a stem-table" appropriately ornamented, which 



200 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

she desired to present to the President. Through a 
friend an opportunity was secured, and she went to 
Washington, with her minister, to attend personally 
to the setting up of the stand and fruit. 

The result is given by a correspondent of the 
" Anti-Slavery Standard," in her own words : — 

" The Commissioner, Mr. Newton, received us 
kindly, and sent the box to the White House, with 
directions that it should not be opened until I came. 
The next day was reception day, but the President 
sent me word that he would receive me at one 
o'clock. I went and arranged the table, placing it 
in the centre of the room. Then I was introduced 
to the President and his wife. He stood next to 
me ; then Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Newton, and the min- 
ister ; the others outside. Mr. Hamilton (the min- 
ister) made an appropriate speech, and at the con- 
clusion said : * Perhaps Mrs, Johnson would like to 
say a few words ? ' I looked down to the floor, and 
felt that I had not a word to say, but after a mo- 
ment or two, the fire began to burn, (laying her 
hand on her breast,) and it burned and burned till 
it went all over me. I think it was the Spirit, 
and I looked up to him and said : 4 Mr. President, I 
believe God has hewn you out of a rock, for this 
great and mighty purpose. Many have been led 
away by bribes of gold, of silver, of presents ; but 
you have stood firm, because God was with you, 
and if you are faithful to the end, he will be with 
you.' With his eyes full of tears, he walked round 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 201 

a^a examined the present, pronounced it beautiful, 
thanked me kindly, but said : ' You must not give 
me the praise — it belongs to God.' " 



LVIII. 

" Sojourner Truth," the slave preacher whom 
Mrs. Stowe has described as embodying all trie ele- 
ments of an African prophetess or sibyl, when 
over eighty years old, left her home, at Battlecreek, 
Michigan, with the unalterable purpose of seeing 
the Emancipator of her race before her death. 
Provided for throughout her journey, she reached 
Washington the last of October, 1864, and subse- 
quently, at her dictation, the following account of 
her interview with Mr. Lincoln was written out by 
a friend : — 

" It was about eight o'clock, a. m., when I called 
on the President. Upon entering his reception-room 
we found about a dozen persons in waiting, among 
them two colored women. I had quite a pleasant 
time waiting until he was disengaged, and enjoyed 
his conversation with others ; he showed as much 
kindness and consideration to the colored persons as 
to the whites, — if there was any difference, more. 
One case was that of a colored woman, who was sick 
and likely to be turned out of her house on account 
of her inability to pay her rent. The President lis- 
tened to her with much attention, and spoke to her 
with kindness and tenderness. He said he had 



202 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

given so much he could give no more, but told her 
where to go and get the money, and asked Mrs. 
C— , who accompanied me, to assist her, which 
she did. 

" The President was seated at his desk. Mrs. C. 
said. to him: 'This is Sojourner Truth, who has 
come all the way from Michigan to see you.' He 
then arose, gave me his hand, made a bow, and 
said : c I am pleased to see you.' 

" I said to him : 8 Mr. President, when you first 
took your seat I feared you would be torn to pieces, 
for I likened you unto Daniel, who was thrown into 
the lions' den ; and if the lions did not tear you into 
pieces, I knew that it would be God that had saved 
you ; and I said if He spared me I would see you 
before the four years expired, and He has done so, 
and now I am here to see you for myself.' 

" He then congratulated me on my having been 
spared. Then I said: 'I appreciate you, for you 
are the best President who has ever taken the seat.' 
He replied thus : ; I expect you have reference to 
my having emancipated the slaves in my proclama- 
tion. But,' said he, mentioning the names of sev- 
eral of his predecessors, (and among them emphati- 
cally that of Washington,) ' they were all just as 
good, and would have done just as I have done if 
the time had come. If the people over the river 
(pointing across the Potomac) had behaved them- 
selves, I could not have done what I have ; but they 
did not, and I was compelled to do these things.' I 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 208 

then said : ' I thank God that you were the instru- 
ment selected by Him and the people to do it.' 

" He then showed me the Bible presented to him 
by the colored people of Baltimore, of which you 
have heard. I have seen it for myself, and it is 
beautful beyond description. After I had looked it 
over, I said to him : ; This is beautiful indeed ; the 
colored people have given this to the Head of the 
Government, and that Government once sanctioned 
laws that would not permit its people to learn 
enough to enable them to read this Book. And 
for what ? Let them answer who can.' 

" I must say, and I am proud to say, that I never 
was treated by any one with more kindness and 
cordiality than was shown me by that great and 
good man, Abraham Lincoln, by the grace of God 
President of the United States for four years more. 
He took my little book, and w T ith the same hand 
that signed the death-warrant of slavery, he wrote 
as follows : — 

4 For Aunty Sojourner Truth, 

' Oct. 29, 1864. A. Lincoln.' 

" As I was taking my leave, he arose and took 
my hand, and said he would be pleased to have me 
call again. I felt that I was in the presence of a 
friend, and I now thank God from the bottom of 
my heart that I always have advocated his cause, 
and have done it openly and boldly. I shall feel 
still more in duty bound to do so in time to come. 
May God assist me." 



204 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Mr. Lincoln's cordial reception of Frederick 
Douglass, the distinguished an ti- slavery orator, also 
once a slave, was widely made known through that 
gentleman's own account of it in one his public lec- 
tures. 

In August or September, 1864, Mr. Douglass 
again visited Washington. The President heard of 
his being in the city, and greatly desiring a second 
conversation upon points on which he considered 
the opinion and advice of a man of Mr. Douglass's 
antecedents valuable, he sent his carriage to the 
boarding-house where he was staying, with a re- 
quest that Mr. D. would " come up and take a cup 
of tea " with him. The invitation w r as accepted ; 
and probably never before, in our history, was the 
executive carriage employed to convey such a guest 
to the White House. Mr. Douglass subsequently 
remarked that " Mr. Lincoln was one of the few 
white men he ever passed an hour with, who failed 
to remind him in some way, before the interview 
terminated, that he was a ' negro.' " 

A memorial, on a certain occasion, was present- 
ed to the President from the children and young 
people of Concord, Mass., petitioning for the free- 
dom of all slave children. In reply, he wrote the 
following : — 

" Tell those little people I am very glad their 
young hearts are so full of just and generous sym- 
pathy, and that while I have not the power to grant 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 205 

all they ask, I trust they will remember that God 
has ; and that as it seems He wills to do it. 

A. Lincoln. ' 



LIX. 

11 On New Year's day, 1865," wrote a corre- 
spondent of the New York " Independent," " a 
memorable incident occurred, of which the like 
was never before seen at the White House. I had 
noticed, at sundry times during the summer, the 
wild fervor and strange enthusiasm which our col- 
ored friends always manifest over the name of 
Abraham Lincoln. His name with them seems 
to be associated with that of his namesake, the Fathei 
of the Faithful. In the great crowds which gathei 
from time to time in front of the White House, in 
honor of the President, none shout so loudly or so 
wildly, and swing their hats with such utter aban- 
don, while their eyes are beaming with the intensest 
joy, as do these simple-minded and grateful people. 
I have often laughed heartily at these exhibitions. 
But the scene yesterday excited far other emotions. 
As I entered the door of the President's House, I 
noticed groups of colored people gathered here and 
there, who seemed to be watching earnestly the in- 
pouring throng. For nearly two hours they hung 
around, until the crowd of white visitors began sen- 
sibly to diminish. Then they summoned up cour- 
age, and began timidly to approach the door. Some 



206 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

of them were richly and gayly dressed ; some were 
in tattered garments, and others in the most fanciful 
and grotesque costume. All pressed eagerly for- 
ward. When they came into the presence of the 
President, doubting as to their reception, the feel- 
ings of the poor creatures overcame them, and here 
the scene baffles my powers of description. 

" For two long hours Mr. Lincoln had been 
shaking the hands of the 'sovereigns,' and had 
become excessively weary, and his grasp languid ; 
but here his nerves rallied at the unwonted sight, 
and he welcomed this motley crowd with a hearti- 
ness that made them wild with exceeding joy. 
They laughed and wept, and wept and laughed, — 
exclaiming, through their blinding tears : ' God 
bless you ! ' * God bless Abraham Lincoln ! * 
4 God bress Massa Linkum ! ' Those who wit- 
nessed this scene will not soon forget it. For a 
long distance down the Avenue, on my way home, 
I heard fast young men cursing the President for 
this act ; but all the way the refrain rang in my 
ears, — ' God bless Abraham Lincoln ! ' 

Miss Betsey Canedy, of Fall River, Massachu- 
setts, while engaged in teaching a school among 
the colored people of Norfolk, Virginia, had in hei 
school-room a plaster bust of the President. One 
day she called some colored carpenters who were at 
work on the building, and showed it to them, writ- 
ing down their remarks, some of which were as 
follows : — 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 207 

" He 's brought us safe through the Red Sea.'' 
u He looks as deep as the sea himself." "He's 
king of the United States." u He ought to be 
king of all the world." " We must all pray to the 
Lord to carry him safe through, for it 'pears like 
he's got everything hitched to him." " There has 
been a right smart praying for him, and it mustn't 
stop now." 

A southern correspondent of the New York 
" Tribune," in Charleston, South Carolina, the 
week following the assassination, wrote : — 

" I never saw such sad faces, or heard such 
heavy hearts beatings, as here in Charleston the 
day the dreadful news came ! The colored people 
— the native loyalists — were like children be- 
reaved of an only and loved parent. I saw one 
old woman going up the street wringing her hands 
and saying aloud, as she walked looking straight 
before her, so absorbed in her grief that she noticed 
no one, — 

" « O Lord ! O Lord ! O Lord ! Massa Sam 's 
dead ! Massa Sam 's dead ! O Lord ! Massa Sam 's 
dead ! ' 

" ' Who 's dead, Aunty ? ' I asked her. 

" 4 Massa Sam ! ' she said, not looking at me, — 
renewing her lamentations : ' Lord ! O Lord ! 
Lord ! Massa Sam 's dead ! ' 

" ' Who 's Massa Sam ? ' I asked. 

" ' Uncle Sam ! ' she said. < O Lord ! Lord ! ' 

" I was not quite sure that she meant the Pres- 
ident, and I spoke again : — 



208 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

44 4 Who 's Massa Sam, Aunty ? ' 

44 4 Mr. Lincum ! ' she said, and resumed wringing 
her hands and moaning in utter hopelessness of sor- 
row. The poor creature was too ignorant to com- 
prehend any difference between the very unreal 
Uncle Sam and the actual President ; but her heart 
told her that he whom Heaven had sent in answer 
to her prayers was lying in a bloody grave, and she 
and her race were left — fatherless" 

'In 1863, Colonel McKaye, of New York, with 
Robert Dale Owen and one or two other gentle- 
men, were associated as a committee to investigate 
the condition of the freedmen on the coast of North 
Carolina. Upon their return from Hilton Head 
they reported to the President ; and in the course 
of the interview Colonel McKaye related the fol- 
lowing incident. 

He had been speaking of the ideas of power 
entertained by these people. He said they had an 
idea of God, as the Almighty, and they had real- 
ized in their former condition the power of their 
masters. Up to the time of the arrival among 
them of the Union forces, they had no knowledge 
of any other power. Their masters fled upon the 
approach of our soldiers, and this gave the slaves a 
conception of a power greater than that exercised 
by them. This power they called 44 Massa Lin- 
kum." 

Colonel McKaye said that their place of worship 
was a large building which they called " the praise 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 209 

house ; " and the leader of the meeting, a ven- 
erable black man, was known as " the praise man." 
On a certain day, when there was quite a large 
gathering of the people, considerable confusion was 
created by different persons attempting to tell who 
and what " Massa Linkum " was. In the midst of 
the excitement the white-headed leader commanded 
silence. "Brederin," said he, "you don't know 
nosen' what you'se talkin' 'bout. Now, you just 
listen to me. Massa Linkum, he eberywhar. He 
know eberyting." Then, solemnly looking up, he 
added, — "He ivalk de earf like de Lord ! " 

Colonel McKaye told me that Mr. Lincoln seemed 
much affected by this account. He did not smile, 
as another man might have done, but got up from 
his chair, and walked in silence two or three times 
across the floor. As he resumed his seat, he said, 
very impressively : " It is a momentous thing to 
be the instrument, under Providence, of the libera- 
tion of a race." 

LX. 

The famous "peace" conference, on board the 
River Queen, in Hampton Roads, between Pres- 
ident Lincoln and Secretary Seward, and the Rebel 
commissioners Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell, 
took place the 3d of February, 1865. A few days 
afterward* I asked the President if it was true, 

* My " six months " proper, at the White House, terminated, as will 
be seen, the last week in July, 1864. February and a part of March 
14 



210 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

as reported by the New York " Herald," that he 
told a "little story" on that occasion? — "Why, ,; 
said he, " has it leaked out ? I was in hopes 
nothing would be said about that, lest some over- 
sensitive people should imagine there was a degree 
of levity in the intercourse between us." He then 
went on to relate the circumstances which called it 
out. " You see," said he, " we had reached and 
were discussing the slavery question. Mr. Hunter 
said, substantially, that the slaves, always accus- 
tomed to an overseer, and to work upon compul- 
sion, suddenly freed, as they would be if the South 
should consent to peace on the basis of the ' Eman- 
cipation Proclamation,' would precipitate not only 
themselves but the entire Southern society into 
irremediable ruin. No work would be done, noth- 
ing would be cultivated, and both blacks and whites 
would starve ! " Said the President, " I waited for 
Seward to answer that argument, but as he was 
silent, I at length said : ' Mr. Hunter, you ought to 
know a great deal better about this matter than Z, 
for you have always lived under the slave system. 
I can only say, in reply to your statement of the 
case, that it reminds me of a man out in Illinois, by 
the name of Case, who undertook, a few years ago, 
to raise a very large herd of hogs. It was a great 
trouble to feed them, and how to get around this 
was a puzzle to him. At length he hit on the plan 

following I passed in Washington, and was privileged with a renewal 
of my previous intercourse with Mr. Lincoln. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 211 

of planting an immense field of potatoes, and, when 
they were sufficiently grown, he turned the whole 
herd into the field, and let them have full swing, 
thus saving not only the labor of feeding the hogs, 
but also that of digging the potatoes. Charmed 
with his sagacity, he stood one day leaning against 
the fence, counting his hogs, when a neighbor came 
along. ' Well, well,' said he, ' Mr. Case, this is all 
very fine. Your hogs are doing very well just now, 
but you know out here in Illinois the frost comes 
early, and the ground freezes a foot deep. Then 
what are they going to do ? ' This was a view of 
the matter Mr. Case had not taken into account. 
Butchering-time for hogs was 'way on in December 
or January. He scratched his head, and at length 
stammered, ' Well, it may come pretty hard on 
their snouts, but I don't see but that it will be 
" root, hog, or die ! " ' 

" Shortly afterward," he continued, " a reference 
was casually made to Colonel Hardin, who was 
killed in the Mexican War, — who at one time was 
a representative in Congress from Illinois ; and this 
drew out a story from Stephens. c On a certain 
occasion,' he said, ' when the House was in session, 
a dispute arose between Hardin and others of the 
Illinois delegation as to the proper pronunciation of 
the name of their State. Some insisted it was 
" Illinoy" others as stoutly that it was " Illinois" 
Hardin at length appealed to the venerable John 
Quincy Adams. " If one were to judge from the 



212 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

character of the representatives in this Congress 
from that State," said the old man, with a mali- 
cious smile, " I should decide unhesitatingly that the 
proper pronunciation was 'All noise I ' 

In the Augusta (Ga.) " Chronicle," of the 17th 
of June, 1865, there appeared a report of this con- 
ference, purporting to have been written out from 
the lips of Mr. Stephens, so characteristic of Mr. 
Lincoln, that I subjoin the following extracts : — 

" The three Southern gentlemen met Mr. Lincoln 
and Mr. Seward, and after some preliminary re- 
marks, the subject of peace was opened. Mr. Ste- 
phens, well aware that one who asks much may get 
more than he who confesses to humble wishes at the 
outset, urged the claims of his section with that skill 
and address for which the Northern papers have 
given him credit. Mr. Lincoln, holding the van- 
tage-ground of conscious power, was, however, per- 
fectly frank, and submitted his views almost in the 
form of an argument. 

" Davis had on this occasion, as on 

that of Mr. Stephens's visit to Washington, made it 
a condition that no conference should be had unless 
his rank as commander or President should first be 
recognized. Mr. Lincoln declared that the only 
ground on which he could rest the justice of the 
war — either with his own people or with foreign 
powers — was that it was not a war for conquest, 
for that the States had never been separated from 
the Union. Consequently, he could not recognize 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 21S 

another government inside of the one of which he 
alone was President, nor admit the* separate inde- 
pendence of States that were yet a part of the 
Union. • That,' said he, ' would be doing what 
you have so long asked Europe to do in vain, and 
be resigning the only thing the armies of the Union 
are fighting for.' 

" Mr. Hunter made a long reply to this, insisting 
that the recognition of Davis's power to make a 
treaty was the first and indispensable step to peace, 
and referred to the correspondence between King 
Charles I. and his Parliament, as a trustworthy 
precedent of a constitutional ruler treating with 
rebels. 

" Mr. Lincoln's face then wore that indescribable 
expression which generally preceded his hardest hits, 
and he remarked : ' Upon questions of history I 
must refer you to Mr. Seward, for he is posted 
in such things, and I don't pretend to be bright. 
My only distinct recollection of the matter is, that 
Charles lost his head.' That settled Mr. Hunter for 
a while." 

• ••••••• 

" During the interview it appears that Hunter 
declared that he had never entertained any fears for 
his person or life from so mild a government as that 
of the United States. To which Mr. Lincoln re- 
torted that he, also, had felt easy as to the Rebels, 
but not always so easy about the lamp-posts around 
Washington City, — a hint that he had already 



i!l4 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

done more favors for the Rebels than was exactly 
popular with the radical men of his own party. 

" Mr. Lincoln's manner had now grown more 
positive. He suggested that it would be better for 
the Rebel States to return at once than to risk the 
chances of continuing the war, and the increasing 
bitterness of feeling in Congress. The time might 
come, he said, when they would not be considered 
as an erring people invited back to citizenship, but 
would be looked upon as enemies to be exterminated 
or ruined. 

" During the conference, the amendment to the 
Federal Constitution, which has just been adopted 
by Congress, was read, providing that neither slavery 
nor involuntary servitude, except for crime, should 
exist within the United States, or any place within 
its jurisdiction, and Congress should have power to 
enforce the amendment by appropriate legislation." 
The report says, " Mr. Seward then remarked : Mr 
President, it is as well to inform these gentlemen 
that yesterday Congress acted upon the amendment 
of the Constitution abolishing slavery." 

" Mr. Lincoln stated this to be true, and suggested 
that there was a question as to the right of the in- 
surgent States to return at once and claim a right 
to vote upon the amendment, to which the concur- 
rence of two thirds of the States was required. He 
stated that it would be desirable to have the insti- 
tution of slavery abolished by the consent of the 
people as soon as possible, — he hoped within six 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 215 

years. He also stated that four hundred millions 
of dollars might be offered as compensation to the 
owners, and remarked, * You would be surprised 
were I to give you the names of those who favor 
that.' " 

• ••••••• 

" Mr. Stephens came home with a new cause of 
sorrow, and those who said he talked of coming 
home to make war speeches and denounce the terms 
offered, simply lied. Before Mr. Lincoln's death, 
he thought he was doing a favor to him not to in- 
clude that offer of four hundred millions in gold for 
the Southern slaves in the published report, for it 
would be used to the injury of Mr. Lincoln by those 
of his enemies who talk about taxation and the 
debt. 

" Mr. Stephens has frequently expressed no ap- 
prehensions should the fortunes of war throw him 
into the hands of Mr. Lincoln, and said he would 
not get out of the way of a raid were it not for 
appearances, on account of the office he held. He 
spoke of Mr. Lincoln as an old friend who had 
generally voted with him in Congress, and who had 
a good heart and fine mind, and was undoubtedly 
honest." 

LXI. 

Visitors to the Executive Chamber, during the 
administration of Mr. Lincoln, will remember the 
lithographic map, showing the slave population of 



216 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

the Southern States in graduated light and shade, 
which usually leaned against a leg of his desk or 
table, and bore the marks of much service. The 
States and counties most abounding in slaves were 
indicated on this map by degrees of blackness, so 
that by a glance the proportion of whites and blacks 
in the different States at the commencement of the 
Rebellion could be easily comprehended. 

Wishing to introduce this map into my picture, 
I carried it off one day, without the President's 
knowledge, and as the copying of it was a tedious 
affair, it remained in the studio for some time. This 
chanced to be during the week of Kilpatrick's great 
cavalry raid in Virginia. One afternoon the Pres- 
ident came in alone, as was his wont, — the obser- 
vation of the daily progress of the picture appearing 
to afford him a species of recreation. Presently his 
eye fell upon the map, leaning against a chair, as I 
had left it after making the study. "Ah!" said 
he, "you have appropriated my map, have you ? I 
have been looking all around for it." And with 
that he put on his spectacles, and, taking it up, 
walked to the window ; and sitting down upon a 
trunk began to pore over it very earnestly. He 
pointed out Kilpatrick's position, when last heard 
from, and said : — 

" It is just as I thought it was. He is close 

upon County, where the slaves are thickest. 

Now we ought to get a ' heap ' of them, when he 
returns." 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 217 

This conversation occurred, I recollect, just after 
his solitary lunch, — the family being away at 
the time. It was often a matter of surprise to me 
how the President sustained life ; for it seemed, 
some weeks, as though he neither ate nor slept. 
His habits continued as simple as when he was a 
practising lawyer in Springfield, but they came to 
be very irregular. During the months of my inter- 
course with him he rarely entertained company at 
dinner. Almost daily, at this hour, I met a servant 
carrying a simple meal upon a tray up-stairs, where 
it was received, perhaps two hours later, in the 
most unceremonious manner. I knew this irregu- 
larity of life was his own fault ; but the wonder as 
to how his system endured the strain brought to 
bear upon it was not lessened by this knowledge. 

All familiar with him will remember the weary 
air which became habitual during his last years. 
This was more of the mind than the body, and no 
rest and recreation which he allowed himself could 
relieve it. As he sometimes expressed it, the rem- 
edy " seemed never to reach the tired spot." 

Mr. Lincoln's height was six feet three and three- 
quarter inches " in his stocking-feet." He stood 
up, one day, at the right of my large canvas, while 
I marked his exact height upon it. 

His frame was gaunt but sinewy, and inclined to 
stoop when he walked. His head was of full me- 
dium size, with a broad brow, surmounted by rough, 
unmanageable hair, which, he once said, had " a 



218 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

way of getting up as far as possible in the world.' ' 
Lines of care ploughed his face, - — the hollows in 
his cheeks and under his eyes being very marked. 
The mouth was his plainest feature, varying widely 
from classical models, — nevertheless expressive of 
much firmness and gentleness of character. 

His complexion was inclined to sallowness, though 
I judged this to be the result, in part, of his anxious 
life in Washington. His eyes were blueish-gray in 
color, — always in deep shadow, however, from the 
upper lids, which were unusually heavy, (remind- 
ing me, in this respect, of Stuart's portrait of Wash- 
ington,) — and the expression was remarkably pen- 
sive and tender, often inexpressibly sad, as if the 
reservoir of tears lay very near the surface, — a 
fact proved not only by the response which accounts 
of suffering and sorrow invariably drew forth, but 
by circumstances which would ordinarily affect few 
men in his position. 

The Hon. Mr. Frank, of New York, told me 
that just after the nomination of Mr. Chase as 
Chief Justice, a deeply interesting conversation 
upon this subject took place one evening between 
himself and the President, in Mrs. Lincoln's private 
sitting-room. Mr. Lincoln reviewed Mr. Chase's 
political course and aspirations at some length, al- 
luding to what he had felt to be an estrangement 
from him personally, and to various sarcastic and 
bitter expressions reported to him as having been 
indulged in by the ex-Secretary, both before and 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 219 

after his resignation. The Congressman replied 
that such reports were always exaggerated, and 
spoke very warmly of Mr. Chase's great services in 
the hour of the country's extremity, his patriotism, 
and integrity to principle. The tears instantly 
sprang into Mr. Lincoln's eyes. " Yes," said he, 
" that is true. We have stood together in the time 
of trial, and I should despise myself if I allowed 
personal differences to affect my judgment of his 
fitness for the office of Chief Justice." 



LXIL 

The President's friend, the Hon. H. C. Deming 
of Connecticut, once ventured to ask him " if he 
had ever despaired of the country? " " When the 
Peninsula campaign terminated suddenly at Har- 
rison's Landing," rejoined Mr. Lincoln, " I was 
as nearly inconsolable as I could be and live." In 
the same connection Colonel Deming inquired if 
there had ever been a period in which he thought 
that better management upon the part of the 
commanding general might have terminated the 
war ? " Yes," answered the President, " there were 
three : at 4 Malvern Hill,' when McClellan failed to 
command an immediate advance upon Richmond ; 
at ' Chancellorville,' when Hooker failed to reen- 
force Sedgwick, after hearing his cannon upon the 
extreme right ; and at ' Gettysburg,' when Meade 
failed to attack Lee in his retreat at the bend of the 



220 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Potomac." After this commentary, the Congress- 
man waited for an outburst of denunciation — for a 
criticism, at least — upon the delinquent officers ; but 
he waited in vain. So far from a word of censure 
escaping Mr. Lincoln's lips, he soon added, that his 
first remark might not appear uncharitable : " I do 
not know that I could have given any different 
orders had I been with them myself. I have not 
fully made up my mind how I should behave when 
niinie-balls were whistling, and those great oblong 
shells shrieking in my ear. I might run away." 

The interview at which this conversation took 
place, occurred just after General Fremont had de- 
clined to run against him for the presidency. The 
magnificent Bible which the negroes of Baltimore 
had just presented to him lay upon the table, and 
while examining it, Colonel Deming recited the 
somewhat remarkable passage from the Chronicles : 
" Eastward were six Levites, northward four a day, 
southward four a day, and toward Assuppim, two 
and two. At Parbar westward, four at the cause- 
way, and two at Parbar." The President imme- 
diately challenged his friend to find any such pas- 
sage in his Bible. After it was pointed out to him, 
and he was satisfied of its genuineness, he asked the 
Congressman if he remembered the text which his 
friends had recently applied to Fremont, and in- 
stantly turned to a verse in the first of Samuel, put 
on his spectacles, and read in his slow, peculiar, and 
waggish tone : " And every one that was m distress, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 221 

and every one that was in debt, and every one that 
was discontented, gathered themselves unto him^ 
and he became a captain over them, and there were 
with him about four hundred men." 



LXIH. 

The letter of General Fremont withdrawing from 
the presidential canvass of 1864, after having ac- 
cepted the nomination of the Cleveland Conven- 
tion, was an unfortunate one for his political repu- 
tation, whatever may have been thought of the 
military career of that once popular leader. With- 
out attempting any discussion of the merits of the 
controversy between him and the Government, I 
think it cannot be denied that Mr. Lincoln ever 
bore toward General Fremont the sincerest good 
will, though for reasons perhaps not yet fairly esti- 
mated, as a commander he had failed to realize the 
public expectation. 

Some months subsequent to Fremont's removal 
from the Western Department, one of his personal 
friends, Mr. Henry C. Bowen, of Brooklyn, hap- 
pened to be in Washington. Passing the Executive 
Chamber, on his way to the private secretary's of- 
fice one day, he observed the door ajar, and the 
President standing near it, in the act of taking 
down a book from the bookcase. Catching a glimpse 
of him, Mr. Lincoln said, " Come in ; you are the 
very man I want to see." Mr. Bowen entered Uie 



222 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

office, and the President, laying aside other busi- 
ness, said: "I have been thinking a great deal 
lately about Fremont ; and I want to ask you, as an 
old friend of his, what is thought about his contin- 
uing inactive ? " " Mr. President," returned Mr. 
Bowen, " I will say to you frankly, that a large 
class of people feel that General Fremont has been 
badly treated, and nothing would give more satis- 
faction, both to him and to his friends, than his re- 
appointment to a command commensurate, in some 
degree, with his rank and ability." " Do you think 
he would accept an inferior position to that he occu- 
pied in Missouri ? " asked the President. " I have 
that confidence in General Fremont's patriotism, 
that I venture to promise for him in advance," was 
the earnest reply. " "Well," rejoined Mr. Lincoln, 
thoughtfully, " I have had it on my mind for some 
time that Fremont should be given a chance to re- 
deem himself. The great hue and cry about him 
has been concerning his expenditure of the public 
money. I have looked into the matter a little, 
and I can't see as he has done any worse or any 
more, in that line, than our Eastern commanders. 
At any rate, he shall have another trial ! " The 
result, close upon this interview, was the appoint- 
ment of Fremont to the " Mountain Department 
of Western Virginia." 

While Mr. Bowen was in Washington, he drove 
out, by invitation one evening, with one or two 
friends, to the Soldier's Home, where the Presi- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 223 

dent spent the nights of midsummer. More at leis- 
ure there than at the " shop," as he was in the habit 
of calling his official chamber at the White House, 
Mr. Lincoln sat down with the party for a leisurely- 
conversation. " I know," he said to Mr. Bowen, 
"that you are a great admirer of Mr. Chase and 
Mr. Seward. Now, I will tell you a circumstance 
that may please you. Before sunset of election-day, 
in 1860, I was pretty sure, from the despatches I 
received, that I was elected. The very first thing 
that I settled in my mind, after reaching this con- 
clusion, was that these two great leaders of the 
party should occupy the two first places in my 
cabinet." 

LXIV. 

" The Soldier's Home," writes a California 
lady,* who visited Mr. Lincoln there, "is a few miles 
out of Washington on the Maryland side. It is situa- 
ted on a beautifully wooded hill, which you ascend by 
a winding path, shaded on both sides by wide-spread 
branches, forming a green arcade above you. When 
you reach the top you stand between two mansions, 
large, handsome, and substantial, but w T ith nothing 
about them indicative of the character of either. 
That on your left is the Presidential country-house ; 
that directly before you, the ' Rest ? for soldiers who 

are too old for further service The 

6 Home ' only admitted soldiers of the regular army ; 
but in the graveyard near at hand there are num- 

* San Francisco Bulletin. 



224 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

berless graves — some without a spear of grass to 
hide their newness — that hold the bodies of volun- 
teers. 

" While we stood in the soft evening air, watch- 
ing the faint trembling of the long tendrils of wav- 
ing willow, and feeling the dewy coolness that w r as 
flung out by the old oaks above us, Mr. Lincoln 
joined us, and stood silent, too, taking in the scene. 

" ' How sleep the brave, who sink to rest 
By all their country's wishes blest,' — 

he said, softly. 

" There was something so touching in the picture 
opened before us, — the nameless graves, the solemn 
quiet, the tender twilight air, but more particularly 
our own feminine disposition to be easily melted, I 
suppose, — that it made us cry as if we stood beside 
the tomb of our own dead, and gave point to the 
lines which he afterwards quoted : — 

" * And women o'er the graves shall weep, 
Where nameless heroes calmly sleep.' " 



" Around the 4 Home ' grows every variety of 
tree, particularly of the evergreen class. Their 
branches brushed into the carriage as we passed 
along, and left with us that pleasant, woody smell 
belonging to leaves. One of the ladies, catching a 
bit of green from one of these intruding branches, 
said it was cedar, and another thought it spruce. 

" 4 Let me discourse on a theme I understand,' 
said the President. 4 1 know all about trees in 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 225 

light of being a backwoodsman. I '11 show you 
the difference between spruce, pine, and cedar, and 
this shred of green, which is neither one nor the 
other, but a kind of illegitimate cypress.' He then 
proceeded to gather specimens of each, and ex- 
plain the distinctive formation of foliage belonging 
to every species. 4 Trees,' he said, 4 are as decep- 
tive in their likeness to one another as are certain 
classes of men, amongst whom none but a physiog- 
nomist's eye can detect dissimilar moral features 
until events have developed them. Do you know 
it would be a good thing if in all the schools pro- 
posed and carried out by the improvement of mod- 
ern thinkers, we could have a school of events ? ' 

" 4 A school of events ? ' repeated the lady he 
addressed. 

" ' Yes,' he continued, i since it is only by that 
active development that character and ability can 
be tested. Understand me, I now mean men, not 
trees ; they can be tried, and an analysis of their 
strength obtained less expensive to life and human 
interests than man's. What I say now is a mere 
whimsey, you know ; but when I speak of a school 
of events, I mean one in which, before entering 
real life, students might pass through the mimic 
vicissitudes and situations that are necessary to 
bring out their powers and mark the calibre to 
which they are assigned. Thus, one could select 
from the graduates an invincible soldier, equal to 
any position, with no such word as fail ; a martyr 

15 



226 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

to Right, ready to give up life in the cause ; a 
politician too cunning to be outwitted ; and so on. 
These things have all to be tried, and their some- 
time failure creates confusion as well as disappoint- 
ment. There is no more dangerous or expensive 
analysis than that which consists of trying a man.' 

" ' Do you think all men are tried ? ? was asked. 

" c Scarcely,' said Mr. Lincoln, ' or so many would 
not fit their place so badly. Your friend, Mr. 
Beecher, being an eloquent man, explains this well 
in his quaint illustration of people out of their 
sphere, — the clerical faces he has met with in gay, 
rollicking life, and the natural wits and good brains 
that have by a freak dropped into ascetic robes.' 

" ' Some men seem able to do what they wish in 
any position, being equal to them all,' said some one. 

" c Versatility,' replied the President, ' is an inju- 
rious possession, since it never can be greatness. It 
misleads you in your calculations from its very agree- 
ability, and it inevitably disappoints you in any great 
trust from its want of depth. A versatile man, to 
be safe from execration, should never soar ; medioc- 
rity is sure of detection.' 

" On our return to the city we had reached that 
street — I forget its name — crossing which you 
and yourself out of Maryland and in the District 
of Columbia. Wondering at this visible boundary 
that made certain laws and regulations apply to one 
side of a street that did not reach the other, I lost 
the conversation, till I found it consisted of a dis- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 227 

cursive review of General McClellan's character, in 
which I was directly appealed to to know if we had 
not at one time considered him the second Napoleon 
in California. 

" I hastened to say that I had found, in travelling 
in the New England States, more fervent admirers 
of the Unready than I had ever known to expend 
speculative enthusiasm upon him among us. 

" ' So pleasant and scholarly a gentleman can 
never fail to secure personal friends,' said the Presi- 
dent. 4 In fact,' he continued, kindly, 

* "Even his failings lean to virtue's side." 

A keen sense of genius in another, and a rever- 
ence for it that forced expression, was out of place 
at Seven Oaks, as beautiful things sometimes will 
be. He was lost in admiration of General Lee, and 
filled with that feeling, forebore to conquer him. 
The quality that would prove noble generosity in a 
historian, does not fit the soldier. Another instance 
of the necessity for my suggestion being carried into 
effect,' he added, smiling. 

" When in New York a few months afterwards, 
I heard the regular dinner-table conversation turn 
on the c Nero who cracked jokes while Rome was 
burning,' and the hundred and one wicked things 
the McClellanites said of Mr. Lincoln, I recalled 
the gentle verdict I had heard, and acknowledged 
how bitterly a noble Christian gentleman may be 
belied. It was after McClellan's speech at West 



228 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Point, and his admirers were wild with enthusiasm 
over the learning and classic taste it displayed. 
The word ' scholarly ' rang from mouth to mouth in 
characterizing it, — the very word Mr. Lincoln had 
used months before in finding a merciful excuse for 
his inefficiency. 

" There is one little incident connected with this 
visit to the Soldier's Home that remains with me as 
connected with my home here. I had always no- 
ticed that the bare mention of our California ceme- 
tery filled the minds of those who heard it with a sol- 
emn sense of awe and sorrow, — ' Lone Mountain ! ! 
It seemed to rise before them out of the quiet sea, a 
vast mausoleum from the hand of God, wherein to 
lay the dead. I was not astonished, therefore, when 
Mr. Lincoln alluded to it in this way, and gave, in 
a few deep-toned words, a eulogy on one of its most 
honored dead, Colonel Baker. Having witnessed 
the impressive spectacle of that glorious soldier's 
funeral, I gave him the meagre outline one can 
convey in words, of something which, having been 
once seen, must remain a living picture in the 
memory forever. I tried to picture the solemn hush 
that lay like a pall on the spirit of the people while 
the grand procession wound its mournful length 
through the streets of the city out on that tear- 
stained road to the gate of the cemetery, where the 
body passed beneath the prophetic words of Califor- 
nia's most eloquent soul, ' Hither in future ages they 
shall bring,' etc. When I spoke of Starr King,' I saw 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 229 

how strong a chord I had touched in the great 
appreciative heart I addressed ; and giving a weak 
dilution of that wondrous draught of soul-lit elo- 
quence, that funeral hymn uttered by the priest of 
God over the sacred ashes of the advocate and sol- 
dier of liberty, whose thrilling threnody seems yet 
to linger in the sighing wind that waves the grass 
upon the soil made sacred by the treasure it received 
that day, I felt strangely impressed as to the power 
and grandeur of that mind, whose thoughts, at sec- 
ond-hand and haltingly given from memory, could 
move and touch the soul of such a man as Abraham 
Lincoln as I saw it touched when he listened. It 
is the electric chain with which all genius and 
grandeur of soul whatsoever is bound, — the free- 
masonry by which spirit hails spirit, though unseen. 
Now they all three meet where it is not seeing 
through a glass darkly, but in the light of a perfect 
day." 

LXV. 

On the morning of Mr. Lincoln's arrival in 
Washington, just before his inauguration, it will 
be remembered that the Peace Convention was in 
session. Among those who were earliest to call 
upon him was a gentleman from Pennsylvania, who 
had been in Congress with him, and who was a 
member of the Peace Convention. He at once 
commenced plying the President elect with ur- 
gent reasons for compromising matters rn dispute, 



230 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

saying, " It must be done sooner or later, and that 
this seemed the propitious moment." Listening 
attentively to all that was said, Mr. Lincoln finally 
replied : " Perhaps your reasons for compromising 
the alleged difficulties are correct, and that now is 
the favorable time to do it ; still, if I remember 
correctly, that is not what I was elected for ! " 

The same day, at Willard's Hotel, a gentleman 
from Connecticut was introduced, who said he 
wanted nothing but to take the incoming President 
by the hand. Mr. Lincoln surveyed him from head 
to foot, and giving him a cordial grasp, replied : 
" You are a rare man." 

During the brief period that the Rev. Henry 
Ward Beecher w r as editor-in-chief of the " Inde- 
pendent," in the second year of the war, he felt 
called upon to pass some severe strictures upon the 
course of the administration. For several weeks 
the successive leaders of the editorial page were 
like bugle-blasts, waking the echoes throughout the 
country. Somebody cut these editorials out of the 
different numbers of the paper, and mailed them all 
to the President under one envelop. One rainy 
Sunday he took them from his drawer, and read 
them through to the very last word. One or two 
of the articles were in Mr. Beecher's strongest style, 
and criticized the President in no measured terms. 
As Mr. Lincoln finished reading them, his face 
flushed up with indignation. Dashing the package 
to the floor, he exclaimed, " Is thy servant a dog^ 
that he should do this thing ? " 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 231 

The excitement, however, soon passed off, leaving 
no trace behind of ill-will toward Mr. Beecher ; and 
the impression made upon his mind by the criticism 
was lasting and excellent in its effects. 

Mr. Lincoln's popularity with the soldiers and the 
people is well illustrated in the following incidents. 

Just after the presidential nominations had been 
made in 1864, a discussion arose in a certain regi- 
ment in the Army of the Potomac as to the merits 
of the two candidates. Various opinions had been 
warmly expressed, when at length a German spoke. 
" I goes," said he, " for Fader Abraham. Fader 
Abraham, he likes the soldier-boy. Ven he serves 
tree years he gives him four hundred tollar, and 
reenlists him von veteran. Now Fader Abraham, 
he serve four years. We reenlist him four years 
more, and make von veteran of Mm" 

The night following the election, a clergyman of 
Middletown, Conn., at a torchlight display, exhib- 
ited a transparency over his door, with a quotation 
from Genesis xxii. 15, — " The angel of the Lord 
called unto Abraham out of heaven a second time." 

A few days before the reinauguration of Mr. 
Lincoln, my picture was placed temporarily on ex- 
hibition in the Rotunda of the Capitol. As the 
workmen were raising it to its place, over the north- 
ern door leading to the Senate Chamber, a group 
gathered in front of it, among whom was police- 
man R -, of the Capitol squad. As the painting 

reached its position, a wandering sunbeam crept in 
from the top of the great dome and settled full upon 



232 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

the head of Mr. Lincoln, leaving all the rest of the 
picture in shadow. The effect was singular and 
wonderful. " Look ! 9i exclaimed the enthusiastic 

R , pointing to the canvas ; " that is as it 

should be. God bless him ; may the sun shine 
upon his head forever.'' 

LXVL 

The 22d of February, 1865, Lieutenant Cushing 
of the Navy reached Washington, from the fleet 
at Wilmington, with the news of the capture of 
Fort Anderson. This gallant officer, only twenty 
or twenty-one years of age, had greatly distin- 
guished himself by planning and successfully accom- 
plishing the destruction of the rebel ram Savannah, 
also in the construction of the " bogus " monitor 
which played so effectual a part in the capture of 
Fort Anderson. He was introduced to the Presi- 
dent by the Secretary of the Navy, and was re- 
ceived in the most cordial manner. Sitting down 
for an hour's talk, Mr. Lincoln, who was in high 
spirits over the late military successes, sparkled 
with humor. Temporarily upon the wall of the 
room was a portrait of himself recently painted for 
Secretary Welles by a Connecticut artist friend. 
Turning to the picture, Mr. Welles remarked that 
lie thought it a successful likeness. "Yes," re- 
turned the President, hesitatingly ; and then came 
a story of a western friend whose wife pronounced 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 233 

her husband's portrait, painted secretly for a birth 
day present, " horridly like ; " " and that," said he, 
" seems to me a just criticism of this ! " The liabil- 
ity to " mistakes," so many instances of which had 
occurred during the war, both on land and sea, was 
illustrated by reference to a charitably disposed 
woman, with a very indifferent face, who, while 
visiting the rooms of the Young Men's Christian 
Association, or a similar institution, caught sight of 
her own reflection in a concealed looking-glass, 
upon which she retired in great confusion, saying 
she would have nothing more to do with an institu- 
tion which one could not visit without meeting dis- 
reputable characters. 

Lieutenant Cushing related a circumstance show- 
ing the estimation in which General Sherman was 
held by the rebel privates. A deserter of this 
class had lately fallen into his hands. " Our boys," 
said he, speaking of the Rebels, " say General Sher- 
man never makes but one speech. When ready for 
a movement, he says : ' Now boys, let 's get ready 
to go ; ' and they get ready," said the deserter, 
" on both sides." 

" There is a good deal of mother-wit in some 
of those fellows," rejoined Mr. Lincoln, much 
amused. " That puts me in mind of a conversa- 
tion between two opposing pickets, just after Hooker 
fell back across the Rappahannock, after the battle 
of Chancellorville. < Where 's Old Joe ? ' called 
out a c butternut ' one frosty morning. ' Gone to 



234 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Stonewall Jackson's funeral,' was the ready reply. 
* What is the reason you " Johnnies " never have 
any decent clothes ? ' hallooed the ' Union ' boy 
back. ' We-uns don't put on our best to kill hogs 
in,' was the retort." 

I was sitting in the President's office with Mr. 
G. B. Lincoln, of Brooklyn, and the Hon. John 
A. Bingham, of Ohio, — who were there by ap- 
pointment of the President, — the Sunday even- 
ing before the reinauguration, when Mr. Lincoln 
came in through the side passage which had lately 
been constructed, holding in his hand a roll of man- 
uscripts. 

" Lots of wisdom in that document, I suspect," 
said he; " it is what will be called my 'second in- 
augural,' containing about six hundred words. I 
will put it away here in this drawer until I want 
it" 

Seating himself by the open grate, he commenced 
conversation in a familiar and cheerful mood, refer- 
ring to his early life in Illinois. Nothing, he said, 
had ever gratified him so much as his first election 
to the legislature of that State, just after his return 
from the Black-Hawk war. In the election dis- 
trict a large majority were Democrats, and he was 
known as a " talking Whig." Nevertheless, he 
said, in a vote of two hundred, he received all but 
three. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 235 

Lxvn. 

" The world," writes one who knew Mr. Lincoln 
well, " will never hear the last of the 4 little stories' 
with which the President garnished or illustrated 
his conversation and his early stump-speeches. He 
once said, however, that as near as he could reckon, 
about one sixth only of those credited to him were 
old acquaintances, — all the rest were the produc- 
tions of other and better story-tellers than himself. 
6 1 remember a good story when I hear it,' he con- 
tinued ; ' but I never invented anything original ; I 
am only a retail-dealer.' " * 

" Mr. Lincoln's jocoseness," wrote another, 
" though sometimes grim and sarcastic, was never 
abusive, and seldom wounded. Often nicely adapted 
to the place and the occasion, it was used, as the 
case might be, either as a shield or a weapon." f 

Humor and shrewdness, together with a certain 
nameless individuality, were combined in his stories 
in a degree that will secure for many of them en- 
during interest. These characteristics, marked and 
prominent as they were, are directly traceable to 
the powerful effect produced upon the plastic mind 
of the pioneer boy, by the early study of JEsop's 
Fables, and the " Pilgrim's Progress." His light- 
est as well as his most powerful thought almost in- 
variably took on the form of a figure in speech, 

* Noah Brooks, Harper's Monthly, July, 1865. 
f Boston Watchman and Reflector, 



236 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

which drove the point home, and clinched it, as 
few abstract reasoners are able to do. 

The character of this volume, necessarily ram- 
bling, and fragmentary, seems to present a legiti- 
mate field for the incorporation and preservation of 
some of the best of Mr. Lincoln's " little stories " 
and quaint sayings, other than those which came 
within my own personal observation. Beside these, 
there has accumulated in my possession a variety 
of incidents, many of which have never been pub- 
lished, throwing light not only upon the character 
of the man, but upon many events and circum- 
stances connected with the war and the adminis- 
tration. 

Believing everything of this kind to have more 
than a temporary interest and value, I devote the 
following section to their embodiment. 

Lxvni. 

Mr. Lincoln made his first political speech in 
1832, at the age of twenty-three, when he was a 
candidate for the Illinois Legislature. His oppo- 
nent had wearied the audience by a long speech, 
leaving him but a short time in which to present his 
views. He condensed all he had to say into a few 
w:>rds, as follows : — 

" Gentlemen, Fellow - citizens : I presume you 
know who I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. 
I have been solicited by many friends to become a 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 237 

candidate for the legislature. My politics can be 
briefly stated. I am in favor of a national bank. 
I am in favor of the internal improvement system, 
and a high protective tariff. These are my senti- 
ments and political principles. If elected, I shall be 
thankful. If not, it will be all the same." 

The contrast between Mr. Lincoln and Senator 
Douglas is well brought out in the following ex- 
tract from a speech by Hon. I. N. Arnold of Illi- 
nois, in 1863. Speaking of their great contest for 
the senatorship, Mr. Arnold said : — 

" Douglas went through this campaign like a con- 
quering hero. He had his special train of cars, his 
band of music, his body-guard of devoted friends, a 
cannon carried on the train, the firing from which 
announced his approach to the place of meeting. 
Such a canvass involved, necessarily, very large ex- 
penditures ; and it has been said that Douglas did 
not expend less than $50,000 in this canvass. Some 
idea of the plain, simple, frugal habits of Mr. Lin- 
coln may be gathered, when I tell you that at its 
close, having occupied several months, Mr. Lincoln 
said, with the idea, apparently, that he had been 
somewhat extravagant : * I do not believe I have 
spent a cent less than five hundred dollars in this 
canvass.' " 

Soon after Mr. Lincoln entered upon the practice 
of his profession at Springfield, he was engaged in 
a criminal case in which it was thought there was 
little chance of success. Throwing all his powers 



238 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

into it, he came off victorious, and promptly received 
for his services five hundred dollars. A legal friend 
calling upon him the next morning found him sit- 
ting before a table, upon which his money was 
spread out, counting it over and over. " Look here, 
Judge," said he ; " see what a heap of money I 've 

got from the case. Did you ever see anything 

like it ? Why, I never had so much money in my 
life before, put it all together ! " Then crossing his 
arms upon the table, his manner sobering down, he 
added, " I have got just five hundred dollars : if it 
was only seven hundred and fifty, I would go di- 
rectly and purchase a quarter section of land, and 
settle it upon my old step-mother." His friend said 
that if the deficiency was all he needed, he would 
loan him the amount, taking his note, to which Mr. 
Lincoln instantly acceded. 

His friend then said : " Lincoln, I would not do 
just what you have indicated. Your step-mother 
is getting old, and will not probably live many 
years. I would settle the property upon her for 
her use during her lifetime, to revert to you upon 
her death." 

With much feeling, Mr. Lincoln replied : " I 
shall do no such thing. It is a poor return, at the 
best, for all the good woman's devotion and fidelitv 
to me, and there is not going to be any half-way 
business about it ; " and so saying, he gathered up 
his money, and proceeded forthwith to carry his 
long-cherished purpose into execution. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 239 

Among the numerous delegations which thronged 
Washington in the early part of the war was one 
from New York, which urged very strenuously the 
sending of a fleet to the southern cities, — Charles- 
ton, Mobile, and Savannah, — with the object of 
drawing off the rebel army from Washington. 
Mr. Lincoln said the project reminded him of the 
case of a girl in New Salem, who was greatly 
troubled with a " singing " in her head. Various 
remedies were suggested by the neighbors, but 
nothing tried afforded any relief. At last a man 
came along, — " a common-sense sort of man," said 
he, inclining his head towards the gentleman com- 
plimentarily, — " who was asked to prescribe for the 
difficulty. After due inquiry and examination, he 
said the cure was very simple. * What is it ? ' was 
the anxious question. ' Make a plaster of psalm- 
tunes, and apply to her feet, and draw the " sing- 
ing " doivnj was the rejoinder." 

On another occasion, an antislavery delegation, 
also from New York, were pressing the adoption of 
the emancipation policy. During the interview the 
"chairman," the Rev. Dr. C , made a charac- 
teristic and powerful appeal, largely made up of 
quotations from the Old Testament Scriptures. Mr. 
Lincoln received the " bombardment " in silence. 
As the speaker concluded, he continued for a mo- 
ment in thought, and then, drawing a long breath, 
responded : " Well, gentlemen, it is not often one 
is favored with a delegation direct from the Al- 
mighty ! " 



240 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

One of Mr. Lincoln's Springfield neighbors, a 
clergyman, visiting Washington early in the ad- 
ministration, asked the President what was to be 
his policy on the slavery question. " Well," said 
he, "I will answer by telling you a story. You 
know Father B., the old Methodist preacher ? and 
you know Fox River and its freshets ? Well, once 
in the presence of Father B., a young Methodist 
was worrying about Fox River, and expressing 
fears that he should be prevented from fulfilling 
some of his appointments by a freshet in the river. 
Father B. checked him in his gravest manner. 
Said he : ' Young man, I have always made it a 
rule in my life not to cross Fox River till I get 
to it!' And," added Mr. Lincoln, "I am not 
going to worry myself over the slavery question 
till I get to it." 

General Garfield, of Ohio, received from the 
President an account of the capture of Norfolk, 
similar to that recorded on a previous page, with 
the following preface : — 

" By the way, Garfield," said Mr. Lincoln, "you 
never heard, did you, that Chase, Stanton, and I, 
had a campaign of our own ? We went down to 
Fortress Monroe in Chase's revenue cutter, and 
consulted with Admiral Goldsborough as to the 
feasibility of taking Norfolk by landing on the north 
shore and making a march of eight miles. The 
Admiral said, very positively, there was no landing 
on that shore, and we should have to double the 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 241 

cape and approach the place from the south side, 
which would be a long and difficult journey. I 
thereupon asked him if he had ever tried to find a 
landing, and he replied that he had not. c Now,' 
said I, ' Admiral, that reminds me of a chap out 
West who had studied law, but had never tried a 
case. Being sued, and not having confidence in 
his ability to manage his own case, he employed a 
fellow-lawyer to manage it for him. He had only a 
confused idea of the meaning of law terms, but was 
anxious to make a display of learning, and on the 
trial constantly made suggestions to his lawyer, who 
paid no attention to him. At last, fearing that his 
lawyer was not handling the opposing counsel very 
well, he lost all patience, and springing to his feet 
cried out, " Why don't you go at him with a capias, 
or a surre-butter, or something, and not stand there 
like a confounded old nudum-p actum t" ' " 

An officer of the Government called one day at 
the White House, and introduced a clerical friend. 
" Mr. President," said he, " allow me to present to 

you my friend, the Rev. Mr. F., of . Mr. F. 

has expressed a desire to see you and have some 
conversation with you, and I am happy to be the 
means of introducing him." The President shook 
iiands with Mr. F., and desiring him to be seated 
took a seat himself. Then, his countenance having 
assumed an air of patient waiting, he said: "I 
am now ready to hear what you have to say." 
" Oh, bless you, sir," said Mr. F., " I have nothing 

16 



242 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

special to say ; I merely called to pay my respects 
to you, and, as one of the million, to assure you of 
my hearty sympathy and support." " My dear 
sir," said the President, rising promptly, his face 
showing instant relief, and with both hands grasp- 
ing that of his visitor, u I am very glad to see 
you, indeed. I thought you had come to preach to 
me!" 

On the way to the cemetery dedication at Get- 
tysburg, Mr. Lincoln said to his friend, McVeagh, 
of Pennsylvania, speaking of Governor Gamble and 
the administration troubles in Missouri : — "I do 
not understand the spirit of those men who, in such 
a time as this, because they cannot have a whole 
loaf will take no bread. For my part, I am willing 
to receive any man, or class of men, who will help 
us even a little" 

On the same occasion, when the Presidential 
party reached Hanover Junction they found a large 
concourse of people assembled to greet them. Mr. 
Lincoln and Secretary Seward, an hour previous, 
had gone into the sleeping-car attached to the train, 
for some rest. In response to the clamor of the 
crowd, a friend intruded upon them, saying to the 
President that he was " expected to make a speech." 

" No ! " he rejoined, very emphatically ; " I had 
enough of that sort of thing all the way from 
Springfield to Washington. Seward," said he, 
turning over in his berth, " you go out and repeat 
some of your 4 poetry ' to the people ! " 






SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 243 

Upon the betrothal of the Prince of Wales to 
the Princess Alexandra, Queen Victoria sent a let- 
ter to each of the European sovereigns, and also 
to President Lincoln, announcing the fact. Lord 
Lyons, her ambassador at Washington, — a " bach- 
elor," by the way, — requested an audience of Mr. 
Lincoln, that he might present this important doc- 
ument in person. At the time appointed he was 
received at the White House, in company with Mr. 
Seward. 

" May it please your Excellency," said Lord 
Lyons, " I hold in my hand an autograph letter 
from my royal mistress, Queen Victoria, which I 
have been commanded to present to your Excel- 
lency. In it she informs your Excellency that her 
son, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, is 
about to contract a matrimonial alliance with her 
Royal Highness the Princess Alexandra of Den- 
mark." 

After continuing in this strain for a few minutes, 
Lord Lyons tendered the letter to the President 
and awaited his reply. It was short, simple, and 
expressive, and consisted simply of the words : — 

" Lord Lyons, go thou and do likewise." 

It is doubtful if an English ambassador was ever 
addressed in this manner before, and it would be 
interesting to learn what success he met with in 
putting the reply in diplomatic language when he 
reported it to her Majesty. 

The antagonism between the northern and south- 



244 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

ern sections of the Democratic party, which cul- 
minated in the nomination of two separate tickets 
in 1860, was a subject to draw out one of Mr. Lin- 
coln's hardest hits. 

44 I once knew," said he, " a sound churchman 
by the name of Brown, who was a member of a 
very sober and pious committee having in charge 
the erection of a bridge over a dangerous and rapid 
river. Several architects failed, and at last Brown 
said he had a friend named Jones, who had built 
several bridges and undoubtedly could build that 
one. So Mr. Jones was called in. 4 Can you build 
this bridge ? ' inquired the committee. ' Yes,' re- 
plied Jones, ' or any other. I could build a bridge 
to the infernal regions, if necessary ! ' The com- 
mittee were shocked, and Brown felt called upon 
to defend his friend. 4 1 know Jones so well,' said 
he, 4 and he is so honest a man and so good an 
architect, that if he states soberly and positively 

that he can build a bridge to — to , why, I 

believe it ; but I feel bound to say that I have my 
doubts about the abutment on the infernal side.' 
So," said Mr. Lincoln, " when politicians told me 
that the northern and southern wings of the Dem- 
ocracy could be harmonized, why, I believed them, 
of course ; but I always had my doubts about the 
4 abutment ' on the other side." * 

About the time Mr. Lincoln began to be known 
as a successful lawyer, he was waited upon by a 

* Abbott's History of the Civil War, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 245 

lady, who held a real-estate claim which she desired 
to have him prosecute, — putting into his hands, 
with the necessary papers, a check for two hundred 
and fifty dollars, as a retaining fee. Mr. Lincoln 
said he would look the case over, and asked her to 
call again the next day. Upon presenting herself, 
Mr. Lincoln told her that he had gone through the 
papers very carefully, and he must tell her frankly 
that there was not a H peg " to hang her claim upon, 
and he could not conscientiously advise her to bring 
an action. The lady was satisfied, and, thanking 
him, rose to go. " Wait," said Mr. Lincoln, fum- 
bling in his vest pocket ; " here is the check you 
left with me." " But, Mr. Lincoln," returned the 
lady, " I think you have earned that" " No, no," 
he responded, handing it back to her; " that would 
not be right. I can't take pay for doing my duty." 

Mr. Lincoln liked to feel himself the attorney of 
the people, not their ruler. Speaking once of the 
probability of his renomination, he said : " If the 
people think I have managed their 4 case ' for them 
well enough to trust me to carry it up to the next 
term, I am sure I shall be glad to take it." 

" Judge Baldwin of California, being in Wash- 
ington, called one day on General Halleck, and, 
presuming upon a familiar acquaintance in Califor- 
nia a few years before, solicited a pass outside of 
our lines to see a brother in Virginia, not thinking 
f hat he would meet with a refusal, as both his 
brother and himself were good Union men. " We 



246 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

have been deceived too often," said General Hal- 
leek, " and I regret I can't grant it." Judge B. 
then went to Stanton, and was very briefly disposed 
of, with the same result. Finally, he obtained an 
interview with Mr. Lincoln, and stated his case. 
" Have you applied to General Halleck ? " inquired 
the President. " Yes, and met with a flat refusal," 
said Judge B. " Then you must see Stanton," 
continued the President. " I have, and with the 
same result," was the reply. " Well, then," said 
Mr. Lincoln, with a smile, " I can do nothing ; for 
you must know that I have very little influence with 
this Administration" 

Mr. Colfax told me of a gentleman's going to 
the President, one day, with a bitter denunciation 
of Secretary Stanton and his management of the 
War Department. " Go home, my friend," inter- 
rupted Mr. Lincoln, " and read attentively the tenth 
verse of the thirtieth chapter of Proverbs ! " * 

A lieutenant, whom debts compelled to leave his 
father-land and service, succeeded in being admitted 
to President Lincoln, and, by reason of his com- 
mendable and winning deportment and intelligent 
appearance, was promised a lieutenant's commission 
in a cavalry regiment. He was so enraptured with 
his success, that he deemed it a duty to inform the 
President that he belonged to one of the oldest 
noble houses in Germany. " Oh, never mind that,' 

* " Accuse not a servant to his master, lest he curse thee, and thou 
be found guilty." 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 247 

said Mr. Lincoln ; " you will not find that to be an 
obstacle to your advancement." 

Just previous to the fall of Vicksburg, a self- 
constituted committee, solicitous for the morale of 
our armies, took it upon themselves to visit the 
President and urge the removal of General Grant. 
In some surprise Mr. Lincoln inquired, " For what 
reason ? " " Why," replied the spokesman, " he 
drinks too much whiskey." " Ah ! " rejoined Mr. 
Lincoln, dropping his lower lip. " By the way, 
gentlemen, can either of you tell me where Gen- 
eral Grant procures his whiskey ? because, if I 
can find out, I will send every general in the field 
a barrel of it ! " 

When the telegram from Cumberland Gap 
reached Mr. Lincoln that " firing was heard in 
the direction of Knbxville," he remarked that he 
was " glad of it." Some person present, who had 
the perils of Burnside's position uppermost in his 
mind, could not see why Mr. Lincoln should be 
glad of it, and so expressed himself. " Why, you 
see," responded the President, " it reminds me of 
Mistress Sallie Ward, a neighbor of mine, who had 
a very large family. Occasionally one of her nu- 
merous progeny would be heard crying in some 
out-of-the-way place, upon which Mrs. Ward would 
exclaim, 4 There 's one of my children that is n't 
dead yet.' " 

A gentleman once complimented the President 
on having no vices, neither drinking nor smoking. 



248 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

11 That is a doubtful compliment," answered the 
President ; " I recollect once being outside a stage- 
coach, in Illinois, and a man sitting by me offered 
me a cigar. I told him I had no vices. He said 
nothing, but smoked for some time, and then growled 
out : • It 's my experience that folks who have no 
vices have generally very few virtues.' " 

Mr. Lincoln's aversion to calls for a speech that 
must be merely " off-hand," was decided; yet, un- 
willing altogether to disappoint the crowds, who 
perhaps too often made such demands of him, he 
seldom excused himself altogether from speaking. 
One evening a friend was conversing with him in 
his room, when his quick ear caught the sound of 
approaching music, and his countenance suddenly 
changed, as he inquired its meaning, though readily 
divining it. A serenade was presently announced 
by an usher, and Mr. Lincoln, as he arose to go 
forward to the front window, lingered a moment, 
and said : — 

" These 6 serenade ' speeches bother me a good 
deal, they are so hard to make. I feel very much 
like the steam doctor, who said he could get along 
very well in his practice with almost every case, 
but he w T as always a little puzzled when it came to 
mending a broken leg." 

It has been repeatedly said that Mr. Lincoln 
lacked imagination and poetic sensibility. Surely, 
the soul which could conceive the last inaugural, or 
indite the closing sentence of the first, was not 
wanting in these elements : — 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 249 

" The mystic chords of memory, stretching from 
every battle-field and patriot grave to every living 
heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will 
yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again 
touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels 
of our nature." 

Neither was the mind deficient in enthusiasm, 
which could prophesy : — 

" There are already those among us, who, if the 
Union be preserved, will live to see it contain two 
hundred and fifty millions. The struggle of to-day 
is not altogether for to-day ; it is for a vast future 
also." 

" The President," said a leading member of the 
Cabinet, on one occasion, " is his own War-Minis- 
ter. He directs personally the movements of the 
armies, and is fond of strategy ; but pays much less 
attention to official details than is generally sup- 
posed." 

Mr. Lincoln's wit was never malicious nor rudely 
personal. Once when Mr. Douglas had attempted 
to parry an argument by impeaching the veracity 
of a senator whom Mr. Lincoln had quoted, he 
answered that the question was not one of veracity, 
but simply one of argument. "By a course of 
reasoning, Euclid proves that all the angles in a 
triangle are equal to two right angles. Now, if 
you undertake to disprove that proposition, would 
you prove it to be false by calling Euclid a liar ? " * 

* Speech at Charleston, September 18th, 1858. 



250 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

A couple of well-known New York gentlemen 
called upon the President one day to solicit a par- 
don for a man who, while acting as mate of a sailing 
vessel, had struck one of his men a blow which 
resulted in his death. Convicted and sentenced for 
manslaughter, a powerful appeal was made in his 
behalf, as he had previously borne an excellent 
character. Giving the facts a hearing, Mr. Lincoln 
responded : — 

" Well, gentlemen, leave your papers, and I will 
have the Attorney-General, Judge Bates, look them 
over, and we will see what can be done. Being 
both of us ' pigeon-hearted' fellows, the chances are 
that, if there is any ground whatever for interfer- 
ence, the scoundrel will get off! " 

Attorney-General Bates was once remonstrating 
with the President against the appointment to a ju- 
dicial position of considerable importance of a west- 
ern man, who, though once on the " bench," was 
of indifferent reputation as a lawyer. 

" Well now, Judge," returned Mr. Lincoln, " I 

think you are rather too hard on . Besides 

that, I must tell you, he did me a good turn long 
ago. When I took to the law, I was going to court 
one morning, with some ten or twelve miles of 

bad road before me, when overtook me in his 

wagon. ' Hallo, Lincoln ! ' said he ; ' going to the 
court-house ? come in and I will give you a seat.' 

Well, I got in, and went on reading his papers, 

Presently the wagon struck a stump on one side of 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 251 

the road ; then it hopped oft 1 to the other. I looked 
out and saw the driver was jerking from side to side 
in his seat : so said I, ' Judge, I think your coach- 
man has been taking a drop too much this morning.' 
1 Well, I declare, Lincoln,' said he, ' I should not 
much wonder if you are right, for he has nearly 
upset me half-a-dozen times since starting.' So, 
putting his head out of the window, he shouted, 
1 Why, you infernal scoundrel, you are drunk ! ' 
Upon which, pulling up his horses and turning 
round with great gravity, the coachman said : 4 Be- 
dad ! but that 's the first rightful decision your 
honor has given for the last twelve months.' " 

Some gentlemen fresh from a western tour, dur- 
ing a call at the White House, referred in the 
course of conversation to a body of water in Ne- 
braska which bore an Indian name signifying 
" weeping water." Mr. Lincoln instantly re- 
sponded : " As ' laughing water,' according to 
Longfellow, is * Minnehaha,' this evidently should 
be 4 Minneboohoo.' " 

A farmer from one of the border counties went to 
the President on a certain occasion with the com- 
plaint that the Union soldiers in passing his farm 
had helped themselves not only to hay but to his 
horse ; and he hoped the proper officer would be 
required to consider his claim immediately. 

" Why, my good sir," replied Mr. Lincoln, " If 
I should attempt to consider every such individual 
case, I should find work enough for twenty Presi- 



252 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

dents ! In my early days, I knew one Jack Chase, 
who was a lumberman on the Illinois, and, when 
steady and sober, the best raftsman on the river. It 
was quite a trick twenty-five years ago to take the 
logs over the rapids, but he was skilful with a raft, 
and always kept her straight in the channel. Finally 
a steamer was put on, and Jack — he 's dead now, 
poor fellow ! — was made captain of her. He al- 
ways used to take the wheel going through the 
rapids. One day, when the boat was plunging and 
wallowing along the boiling current, and Jack's 
utmost vigilance was being exercised to keep her in 
the narrow channel, a boy pulled his coat-tail and 
hailed him with : fi Say, Mister Captain ! I wish you 
would just stop your boat a minute — I 've lost my 
apple overboard ! ' " 

At a time of financial difficulty, a committee of 
New York bankers waited upon the Secretary of 
the Treasury and volunteered a loan to the govern- 
ment, which was gratefully accepted. Mr. Chase 
subsequently accompanied the gentlemen to the 
White House and introduced them to the Presi- 
dent, saying they had called to have a talk with him 
about money. " Money," replied Mr. Lincoln ; " I 
don't know anything about • money? I never had 
enough of my own to fret me, and I have no opin- 
ion about it any w r ay." 

44 It is considered rather necessary to the carry- 
ing on of a war, how r ever," returned the Secretary. 

46 Well, I don't know about that," rejoined Mr. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 253 

Lincoln, turning crosswise in his chair, swinging 
both le^s backward and forward. "'We don't 
read that i Hannibal ' had any ' money ' to prosecute 
his wars with." 

The President was one day speaking of a visit 
he had just received from another delegation of 
bankers, from New York and Boston, who had been 
urging the removal of General Cameron from the 
Cabinet. • 

" They talked very glibly," said he, " especially 

a man named G from Boston; and I finally 

told them as much — adding, nevertheless, that I 
was not convinced. ' Now,' said I, ' gentlemen, if 
you want General Cameron removed, you have 
only to bring me one proved case of dishonesty, and 
I promise you his " head " ; but I assure you I am 
not going to act on what seems to me the most 
unfounded gossip.' " 

The Hon. Mr. Hubbard of Connecticut once 
called upon the President in reference to a newly 
invented gun, concerning w T hich a committee had 
been appointed to make a report. 

The " report " was sent for, and when it came in 
w r as found to be of the most voluminous description. 
Mr. Lincoln glanced at it, and said : " I should 
want a new lease of life to read this through ! " 
Throwing it down upon the table, he added : " Why 
can't a committee of this kind occasionally ex- 
nibit a grain of common sense ? If I send a man 
to buy a horse for me, I expect him to tell me 



254 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

his 'points ' — not how many hairs there are in his 
tail." 

Late one evening, the President brought in to see 
my picture his friend and biographer, the Hon. J. 

H. Barrett, and a Mr. M , of Cincinnati. An 

allusion to a question of law in the course of con- 
versation suggesting the subject, Mr. Lincoln said : 
14 The strongest example of ' rigid government ' and 
4 close construction ' I ever knew, was that of Judge 

. It was once said of him that he would hang 

a man for blowing his nose in the street, but that he 
would quash the indictment if it failed to specify 
which hand he blew it with ! " 

A new levy of troops required, on a certain occa- 
sion, the appointment of a large additional number 
of brigadier and major-generals. Among the im- 
mense number of applications, Mr. Lincoln came 
upon one wherein the claims of a certain worthy 
(not in the service at all) for a generalship were 
glowingly set forth. But the applicant did n't 
specify whether he wanted to be brigadier or major- 
general. The President observed this. difficulty, and 
solved it by a lucid indorsement. The clerk, on 
receiving the paper again, found written across its 
back : " Major-General, I reckon. A. Lincoln." 

A juvenile " Brigadier" from New York, with a 
small detachment of cavalry, having imprudently 
gone within the Rebel lines near Fairfax Court 
House, was captured by " guerillas." Upon the 
fact being reported to Mr. Lincoln, he said that he 
was very sorry to lose the horses ! 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 255 

44 What do you mean ? " inquired his informant. 

44 Why," rejoined the President, " I can make 
a better 4 brigadier ' any day ; but those horses cost 
the government a hundred and twenty-five dollars a 
head ! " 

Mr. Lincoln sometimes had a very effective way 
of dealing with men who troubled him with ques- 
tions. A visitor once asked him how many men 
the Rebels had in the field. The President replied, 
very seriously, " Twelve hundred thousand, accord- 
ing to the best authority." The interrogator blanched 
in the face, and ejaculated, " Good Heavens ! " 
44 Yes sir, twelve hundred thousand — no doubt of 
it. You see, all of our generals, when they get 
whipped, say the enemy outnumbers them from 
three or five to one, and I must believe them. We 
have four hundred thousand men in the field, and 
three times four make twelve. Don't you see it? " 

Some gentlemen were discussing in Mr. Lincoln's 
presence on a certain occasion General McClellan's 
military capacity. 44 It is doubtless true that he is 
a good 4 engineer,' said the President ; but he seems 
to have a special talent for developing a 4 stationary y 
engine." 

When Mr. Lincoln handed to his friend Gilbert 
his appointment as assessor in the Wall Street dis- 
trict, New York, he said : " Gilbert, from what I 
can learn, I judge that you are going upon good 
4 missionary ' ground. Preach God and Liberty to 
the 4 bulls ' and 4 bears,' and get all the money you 
can for the government ! " 



256 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

A gentleman calling at the White House one 
evening carried a cane, which, in the course of con- 
versation, attracted the President's attention. Tak- 
ing it in his hand, he said : " I always used a cane 
when I was a boy. It was a freak of mine. My 
favorite one was a knotted beech stick, and I carved 
the head myself. There 's a mighty amount of 
character in sticks. Don't you think no ? You 
have seen these fishing-poles that fit into a cane ? 
Well that was an old idea of mine. Dogwood clubs 
were favorite ones with the boys. I suppose they 
use them yet. Hickory is too heavy, unless you get 
it from a young sapling. Have you ever noticed 
how a stick in one's hand will change his appear- 
ance ? Old women and witches would n't look so 
without sticks. Meg Merrilies understands that." 

One of Mr. Lincoln's "illustrations" in my hear- 
ing, on one occasion, was of a man who, in driving 
the hoops of a hogshead to "head" it up, was 
much annoyed by the constant falling in of the top. 
At length the bright idea struck him of putting his 
little boy inside to " hold it up." This he did ; it 
never occurring to nim till the job was done, how 
he was to get his child out. " This," said he, "is 
a fair sample of the way some people always do 
business." 

In a time of despondency, some visitors were tell- 
ing the President of the " breakers " so often seen 
ahead — " this time surely coming." " That," 
said he, " suggests the story of the school-boy, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE, 257 

who never could pronounce the names ' Sha- 
drach,' \ Meshach,' and ' Abednego.' He had been 
repeatedly whipped for it without effect. Some- 
time afterwards he saw the names in the regular 
lesson for the day. Putting his finger upon the 
place, he turned to his next neighbor, an older boy, 
and whispered, 4 Here come those " tormented He- 
brews " again.' " 

Referring to the divisions upon the Missouri 
Compromise, Mr. Lincoln once said : " It used to 
amuse me to hear the slave-holders talk about 
wanting more territory, because they had not 
room enough for their slaves ; and yet they com- 
plained of not having the slave-trade, because they 
wanted more slaves for their room." 

Speaking on a certain occasion, of a prominent 
man who had the year before been violent in his 
manifestations of hostility to the Administration, 
but was then ostensibly favoring the same policy 
previously denounced, Mr. Lincoln expressed his 
entire readiness to treat the past as if it had not 
been, saying, " I choose always to make my ' stat- 
ute of limitations ' a short one." 

At the White House one day some gentlemen 
were present from the West, excited and troubled 
about the commissions or omissions of the Admin- 
istration. The President heard them patiently, 
and then replied : " Gentlemen, suppose all the 
property you were worth was in gold, and you had 
put it in the hands of Blondin to carry across the 
17 



258 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Niagara River on a rope, would you shake the 
cable, or keep shouting out to him, ; Blondin, 
stand up a little straighter — Blondin, stoop a little 
more — so a little faster — lean a little more to 
the north — lean a little more to the south.' No, 
you would hold your breath as w r ell as your tongue, 
and keep your hands off until he was safe over. 
The Government are carrying an immense weight. 
Untold treasures are in their hands. They are 
doing the very best they can. Don't badger them. 
Keep silence, and we '11 get you safe across." 

The President was once speaking of f an attack 
made on him by the Committee on the Conduct of 
the War, for a certain alleged blunder, or some 
thing worse, in the Southwest — the matter in- 
volved being one which had fallen directly under 
the observation of the officer to whom he was 
talking, who possessed official evidence completely 
upsetting all the conclusions of the Committee. 

" Might it not be well for me," queried the 
officer, " to set this matter right in a letter to some 
paper, stating the facts as they actually trans- 
pired?" , 

" Oh, no," replied the President, " at least, not 
now. If I were to try to read, much less answer, 
all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well 
be closed for any other business. I do the very 
best I know how — the very best I can ; and I 
mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end 
brings me out all right, what is said against me 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 259 

won't amount to anything. If the end brings me 
out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would 
make no difference." 

" I shall ever cherish among the brightest mem- 
ories of my life," says the Rev. J. P. Thompson, 
of New York, " the recollection of an hour in Mr. 
Lincoln's working-room in September, '64, which 

was one broad sheet of sunshine I 

spoke of the rapid rise of Union feeling since the 
promulgation of the Chicago Platform, and the 
victory at Atlanta ; and the question was started, 
which had contributed the most to the reviving of 
Union sentiment — the victory or the platform, 
1 1 guess,' said the President, ' it was the victory ; 
at any rate, I 'd rather have that repeated.' " 

Being informed of the death of John Morgan, 
he said : " Well, I would n't crow over anybody's 
death ; but I can take this as resignedly as any dis- 
pensation of Providence." 

The celebrated case of Franklin W. Smith and 
brother, was one of those which most largely 
helped to bring military tribunals into public con- 
tempt. Those two gentlemen were arrested and 
kept in confinement, their papers seized, their 
business destroyed, their reputation damaged, and 
a naval court-martial, " organized to convict," 
pursued them unrelentingly till a wiser and juster 
hand arrested the malice of their persecutors. It 
is known that President Lincoln, after full inves- 
tigation of the case, annulled the whole proceed- 



260 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

ings, but it is remarkable that the actual record of 
his decision could never be obtained from the Navy 
Department. An exact copy being withheld, the 
following was presented to the Boston Board of 
Trade as being very nearly the words of the late 
President : — 

"Whereas, Franklin W. Smith had transactions with 
the Navy Department to the amount of one million and 
a quarter of a million of dollars ; and whereas, he had 
the chance to steal a quarter of a million, and was only 
charged with stealing twenty-two hundred dollars — 
and the question now is about his stealing a hundred — 
I don't believe he stole anything at all. Therefore, the 
record and findings are disapproved — declared null and 
void, and the defendants are fully discharged." 

"It would be difficult," says the New York 
"Tribune," "to sum up the rights and wrongs of 
the business more briefly than that, or to find a 
paragraph more characteristically and unmistakably 
Mr. Lincoln's." 

A gentleman was pressing very strenuously the 
promotion of an officer to a " Brigadiership." " But 
we have already more generals than we know 
what to do with," replied the President. " But," 
persisted the visitor, " my friend is very strongly 
recommended." " Now, look here," said Mr. Lin- 
coln, throwing one leg over the arm of his chair, 
" you are a farmer, I believe ; if not, you will un- 
derstand me. Suppose you had a large cattle- 
yard full of all sorts of cattle, — cows, oxen, bulls, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 261 

— and you kept killing and selling and disposing 
of your cows and oxen, in one way and another, — 
taking good care of your bulls. By-and-by you 
would find that you had nothing but a yard full of 
old bulls, good for nothing under heaven. Now, it 
will be just so with the army, if I don't stop 
making brigadier-generals." 

Captain Mix, the commander, at one period, of 
the President's body-guard, told me that on their 
way to town one sultry morning, from the " Sol- 
diers' Home," they came upon a regiment march- 
ing into the city. A " straggler," very heavily 
loaded with camp equipage, was accosted by the 
President with the question : " My lad, what is 
that?" referring to the designation of his regi- 
ment. " It 's a regiment," said the soldier, curtly, 
plodding on, his gaze bent steadily upon the ground. 
" Yes, I see that," rejoined the President, " but I 
want to know what regiment." " Pennsyl- 
vania," replied the man in the same tone, looking 
neither to the right nor the left. As the carriage 
passed on, Mr. Lincoln turned to Captain Mix and 
said, with a merry laugh, " It is very evident that 
chap smells no blood of ' royalty ' in this establish- 
ment." 

Captain Mix was frequently invited to breakfast 
with the family at the "Home " residence. " Many 
times," said he, " have I listened to our most elo- 
quent preachers, but never with the same feeling of 
jtwe and reverence, as when our Christian Presi- 



262 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

dent, his arm around his son, with his deep, ear- 
nest tone, each morning read a chapter from the 
Bible." 

Some one was discussing, in the presence of Mr. 
Lincoln, the character of a time-serving Washing- 
ton clergyman. Said Mr. Lincoln to his visitor: — 

" I think you are rather hard upon Mr. . 

He reminds me of a man in Illinois, who was tried 
for passing a counterfeit bill. It was in evidence 
that before passing it he had taken it to the cashier 
of a bank and asked his opinion of the bill, and he 
received a very prompt reply that it was a counter- 
feit. His lawyer, who had heard of the evidence 
to be brought against his client, asked him, just 
before going into court, ' Did you take the bill to 
the cashier of the bank and ask him if it was good?' 
6 1 did,' was the reply. < Well, what was the reply 
of the cashier ? ' The rascal w x as in a corner, but 
he got out of it in this fashion : ' He said it was a 
pretty tolerable, respectable sort of a bill.' " 

Mr. Lincoln thought the clergyman was " a pretty 
tolerable, respectable sort of a clergyman." 

A visitor, congratulating Mr. Lincoln on the 
prospects of his reelection, was answered with an 
anecdote of an Illinois farmer who undertook to 
blast his own rocks. His first effort at producing 
an explosion proved a failure. He explained the 
cause by exclaiming, " Pshaw, this powder has been 
shot before ! " 

An amusing, yet touching instance of the Presi- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 263 

dent's preoccupation of mind, occurred at one of 
his levees, when he was shaking hands with a host 
of visitors passing him in a continuous stream. An 
intimate acquaintance received the usual conven- 
tional hand-shake and salutation, but perceiving that 
he was not recognized, kept his ground instead of 
moving on, and spoke again ; when the President, 
roused to a dim consciousness that something un- 
usual had happened, perceived who stood before 
him, and seizing his friend's hand, shook it again 
heartily, saying, " How do you do ? How do you 
do? Excuse me for not noticing you. I was 
thinking of a man down South." He afterward 
privately acknowledged that the "man down South" 
was Sherman, then on his march to the sea. 

Mr. Lincoln may not have expected death from 
the hand of an assassin, but he had an impression, 
amounting to a " presentiment," that his life would 
end with the war. This was expressed not only to 
Mr. Lovejoy, as stated on a previous page, but to 
Mrs. Stowe and others. 

" He told me, in July, 1864," says a correspond- 
ent of the Boston " Journal," " that he was certain 
he should not outlast the rebellion. 

" It was a time of dissension among the Repub- 
lican leaders. Many of his best friends had deserted 
him, and were talking of an opposition convention 
to nominate another candidate ; and universal gloom 
was among the people. 

" The North was tired of the war, and supposed 



264 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

an honorable peace attainable. Mr. Lincoln knew 
it was not, — that any peace at that time would be 
only disunion. Speaking of it, he said : 4 1 have 
faith in the people. They will not consent to dis- 
union. The danger is, in their being misled. Let 
them know the truth, and the country is safe.' He 
looked haggard and careworn ; and further on in 
the interview I remarked on his appearance, * You 
are wearing yourself out with work.' 4 I can't 
work less,' he answered; 4 but it isn't that, — 
work never troubled me. Things look badly, and 
I can't avoid anxiety. Personally, I care nothing 
about a reelection ; but if our divisions defeat us, I 
fear for the country.' When I suggested that 
right must eventually triumph, that I had never 
despaired of the result, he said : — 

44 4 Neither have I, but I may never live to see 
it. I feel a presentiment that I shall not outlast 
the Rebellion. When it is over, my work will be 
done.' " 

" The Freedmen," once said the President to the 
Secretary of War, " are the 4 wards ' of the na- 
tion." 

44 Yes," replied Stanton, 44 wards in chancery." 

A few days before the President's death, Secre- 
tary Stanton tendered his resignation of the War 
Department. He accompanied the act with a heart- 
felt tribute to Mr. Lincoln's constant friendship 
and faithful devotion to the country ; saying, also, 
that he as Secretary had accepted the position to 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 265 

hold it only until the war should end, and that 
now he felt his work was done, and his duty was to 
resign. 

Mr. Lincoln was greatly moved by the Secre- 
tary's words, and tearing in pieces the paper con- 
taining the resignation, and throwing his arms about 
the Secretary, he said : " Stanton, you have been a 
good friend and a faithful public servant, and it 
is not for you to say when you will no longer be 
needed here." Several friends of both parties were 
present on the occasion, and there was not a dry 
eye that witnessed the scene. 

" On the night of the 3rd of March, the Secre- 
tary of War, with others of the Cabinet, were in 
the company of the President, at the Capitol, await- 
ing the passage of the final bills of Congress. In 
the intervals of reading and signing these docu- 
ments, the military situation was considered, — the 
lively conversation tinged by the confident and 
glowing account of General Grant, of his mastery 
of the position, and of his belief that a few days 
more would see Richmond in our possession, and 
the army of Lee either dispersed utterly or cap- 
tured bodily, — when the telegram from Grant 
was received, saying that Lee had asked an inter- 
view with reference to peace. Mr. Lincoln was 
elated, and the kindness of his heart was manifest 
in intimations of favorable terms to be granted to 
the conquered Rebels. 

" Stanton listened in silence, restraining his emo- 



266 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

tion, but at length the tide burst forth. ' Mr. Pres- 
ident,' said he, ' to-morrow is inauguration day. If 
you are not to be the President of an obedient and 
united people, you had better not be inaugurated. 
Your work is already done, if any other authority 
than yours is for one moment to be recognized, or 
any terms made that do not signify you are the 
supreme head of the nation. If generals in the 
field are to negotiate peace, or any other chief mag- 
istrate is to be acknowledged on this continent, then 
you are not needed, and you had better not take 
the oath of office.' 

" ' Stanton, you are right ! ' said the President, 
his whole tone changing. 4 Let me have a pen.' 

" Mr. Lincoln sat down at the table, and wrote 
as follows : — 

" 4 The President directs me to say to you that 
he wishes you to have no conference with General 
Lee, unless it be for the capitulation of Lee's army, 
or on some minor or purely military matter. He 
instructs me to say that you are not to decide, dis- 
cuss, or confer upon any political question. Such 
questions the President holds in his own hands, and 
will submit them to no military conferences or con- 
ventions. In the mean time you are to press to the 
utmost your military advantages.' 

" The President read over what he had written, 
and then said : — 

" c Now Stanton, date and sign this paper, and 
send it to Grant. We '11 see about this peace busi- 
aess.' 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 26*1 

44 The duty was discharged only too gladly by 
the energetic and far-sighted Secretary ; with what 
effect and renown the country knows full well." * 

Governor Yates, of Illinois, in a speech at Spring- 
field, quoted one of Mr. Lincoln's early friends — 
W. T. Greene — as having said that the first time 
he ever saw Mr. Lincoln, he was in the Sangamon 
River with his trousers rolled up five feet, more or 
less, trying to pilot a flat-boat over a mill-dam. 
The boat was so full of water that it was hard to 
manage. Lincoln got the prow over, and then, 
instead of waiting to bail the water out, bored a 
hole through the projecting part and let it run out ; 
affording a forcible illustration of the ready ingenu- 
ity of the future President in the quick invention 
of moral expedients. 

14 Some two years ago," said Colonel Forney, in 
a speech at Weldon, Pennsylvania, before the "Sol- 
diers' Aid Society," in 1865, " a deputation of col- 
ored people came from Louisiana, for the purpose 
of laying before the President a petition asking cer- 
tain rights, not including the right of universal 
suffrage. The interview took place in the pres- 
ence of a number of distinguished gentlemen. After 
reading their memorial, he turned to them and said : 
4 1 regret, gentlemen, that you are not able to se- 
cure all your rights, and that circumstances will not 
permit the government to confer them upon you. 
I wish you would amend your petition, so as to 

* Boston Commonwealth. 



268 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

include several suggestions which I think will give 
more effect to your prayer, and after having done 
so please hand it to me.' The leading colored man 
said : ' If you will permit me, I will do so here.' 
' Are you, then, the author of this eloquent pro- 
duction ? ' asked Mr. Lincoln. 4 Whether eloquent 
or not,' was the reply, ' it is my work ; ' and the 
Louisiana negro sat down at the President's side 
and rapidly and intelligently carried out the sug- 
gestions that had been made to him. The Southern 
gentlemen who were present at this scene did not 
hesitate to admit that their prejudices had just re- 
ceived another shock. 

" To show the magnanimity of Mr. Lincoln, I 
may mention that on one occasion, when an edito- 
rial article appeared in my newspaper, the Wash- 
ington ' Chronicle,' speaking well of the bravery 
and the mistaken sincerity of Stonewall Jackson, 
the news of whose death had been just received, 
the President wrote me a letter thanking me warmly 
for speaking kindly of a fallen foe. These were his 
words : — 

" s I honor you for your generosity to one who, 
though contending against us in a guilty cause, was 
nevertheless a gallant man. Let us forget his sins 
over his fresh-made grave.' 

"Again, I happened to be in the Executive 
Chamber when a number of Kentuckians insisted 
that troops should not be sent through that State 
for the purpose of putting down the rebel spirit in 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 269 

Tennessee. The President was hesitating what to 
do, and they were pressing immediate action. 

" ' I am,' he said, 4 a good deal like the farmer 
who, returning to his home one winter night, found 
his two sweet little boys asleep with a hideous ser- 
pent crawling over their bodies. He could not 
strike the serpent without wounding or killing the 
children, so he calmly waited until it had moved 
away. Now I do not want to act in a hurry about 
this matter ; I don't want to hurt anybody in Ken- 
tucky ; but I will get the serpent out of Tennessee.' 

" And he did march through Kentucky, to the 
aid of Andrew Johnson's mountaineers." 

" The roll containing the Emancipation Procla- 
mation was taken to Mr. Lincoln at noon on the 
first day of January, 1863, by Secretary Seward 
and his son Frederick. As it lay unrolled before 
him, Mr. Lincoln took a pen, dipped it in ink, 
moved his hand to the place for the signature, held 
it a moment, and then removed his hand and dropped 
the pen. After a little hesitation he again took up 
the pen and went through the same movement as 
before. Mr. Lincoln then turned to Mr. Seward, 
and said : — 

" c I have been shaking hands since nine o'clock 
this morning, and my right arm is almost paralyzed. 
If my name ever goes into history it will be for 
this act, and my whole soul is in it. If my hand 
trembles when I sign the Proclamation, all who 
examine the document hereafter will say, " He hes 
itated." ' 



270 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

" He then turned to the table, took up the pen 
again, and slowly, firmly wrote that ' Abraham Lin- 
coln ' with which the whole world is now familiar. 
He looked up, smiled, and said : 4 That will do.' " * 

What Mr. Lincoln's policy on the subject of 
" reconstruction " would have been, had he lived, 
is clearly foreshadowed in the following extract 
from a letter to General Wadsworth, who was 
killed in one of the battles of the Wilderness. 
Few sentences from Mr. Lincoln's lips or pen are 
more worthy the profound consideration and re- 
membrance of his countrymen. 

" You desire to know, in the event of our com- 
plete success in the field, the same being followed 
by a loyal and cheerful submission on the part of 
the South, if universal amnesty should not be ac- 
companied with universal suffrage. 

" Now, since you know my private inclinations 
as to what terms should be granted to the South in 
the contingency mentioned, I will here add, that 
if our success should thus be realized, followed by 
such desired results, I cannot see, if universal am- 
nesty is granted, how, under the circumstances, I 
can avoid exacting in return universal suffrage, or 
at least suffrage on the basis of intelligence and 
military service. 

" How to better the condition of the colored race 
has long been a study which has attracted my seri- 
ous and careful attention ; hence I think I am clear 

* Rochester (New York) Express. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 271 

and decided as to what course I shall pursue in the 
premises, regarding it a religious duty, as the na- 
tion's guardian of these people who have so hero- 
ically vindicated their manhood on the battle-field, 
where, in assisting to save the life of the Republic, 
they have demonstrated in blood their right to the 
ballot, which is but the humane protection of the 
flag they have so fearlessly defended." 

When Mr. Lincoln was in Congress, General 
Cass was nominated by the Democratic party for 
President. In a speech on the floor of the House 
shortly afterward, Mr. Lincoln subjected the politi- 
cal course of the candidate to scathing criticism. 
Quoting extracts from the speeches of General 
Cass, to show his vacillation in reference to the 
Wilmot Proviso, he added : " These extracts show 
that in 1846 General Cass was for the Proviso at 
once ; that in March, 1847, he was still for it, but 
not just then ; and that in December, he was against 
it altogether. This is a true index of the whole 
man. When the question was raised in 1846, he 
was in a blustering hurry to take ground for it, . . . 
but soon he began to see glimpses of the great Dem- 
ocratic ox-gad waving in his face, and to hear indis- 
tinctly a voice saying : ' Back ! back, sir ! back a 
little ! ' He shakes his head, and bats his eyes, and 
blunders back to his position of March, 1847 ; but 
still the * gad ' waves, and the voice grows more 
distinct and sharper still : ' Back, sir ! back, I say ! 
farther back ! ' and back he goes to the position of 



272. SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

December, 1847, at which the ' gad ' is still, and 
the voice soothingly says : ' So ! stand still at 
that!'" 

A party of gentlemen, among whom was a doc- 
tor of divinity of much dignity of manner, calling 
at the White House one day, was informed by the 
porter that the President was at dinner, but that he 
would present their cards. The doctor demurred 
to this, saying that he would call again. " Edward " 
assured them that he thought it would make no dif- 
ference, and went in with the cards. In a few min- 
utes the President walked into the room, with a 
kindly salutation, and a request that the friends 
would take seats. The doctor expressed his regret 
that their visit was so ill-timed, and that his Ex- 
cellency was disturbed while at dinner. " Oh ! 
no consequence at all," said Mr. Lincoln, good- 
naturedly. " Mrs. Lincoln is absent at present, 
and when she is away, I generally i browse ' 
around." 

" Upon entering the President's office one after- 
noon," says a Washington correspondent, " I found 
Mr. Lincoln busily counting greenbacks. c This, 
sir,' said he, 4 is something out of my usual line ; 
but a President of the United States has a multi- 
plicity of duties not specified in the Constitution or 
acts of Congress. This is one of them. This money 
belongs to a poor negro who is a porter in the 
Treasury Department, at present very bad with the 
small-pox. He is now in hospital, and could nol 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 27^ 

draw his pay because he could not sign his name. I 
have been at considerable trouble to overcome the 
difficulty and get it for him, and have at length suc- 
ceeded in cutting red tape, as you newspaper men 
say. I am now dividing the money and putting by 
a portion labelled, in an envelope, with my own 
hands, according to his wish ; ' and he proceeded to 
indorse the package very carefully." No one wit- 
nessing the transaction could fail to appreciate the 
goodness of heart which prompted the President of 
the United States to turn aside for a time from his 
weighty cares to succor one of the humblest of his 
fellow-creatures in sickness and sorrow. 

When General Phelps took possession of Ship 
Island, near New Orleans, early in the war, it will 
be remembered that he issued a proclamation, some- 
what bombastic in tone, freeing the slaves. To the 
surprise of many people, on both sides, the Presi- 
dent took no official notice of this movement. Some 
time had elapsed, when one day a friend took him to 
task for his seeming indifference on so important a 
matter. 

u Well," said Mr. Lincoln, " I feel about that a 
good deal as a man whom I will call ' Jones,' whom 
I once knew, did about his wife. He was one of 
your meek men, and had the reputation of being 
badly henpecked. At last, one day his wife was 
seen switching him out of the house. A day or 
two afterward a friend met him in the street, and 
Baid : •' Jones, I have always stood up for you, as you 

18 



274 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

know; but I am not going to do it any longer. 
Any man who will stand quietly and take a switch- 
ing from his wife, deserves to be horsewhipped.' 
' Jones ' looked up with a wink, patting his friend 
on the back. 4 Now don't, said he : ; why, it did n't 
hart me any ; and you 've no idea what a power of 
good it did Sarah Ann ? ' " 

The Rev. Dr. Bellows, of New York, as Presi- 
dent of the Sanitary Commission, backed by power- 
ful influences, had pressed with great strenuousness 
upon the President the appointment of Dr. Ham- 
mond as Surgeon-General. For some unexplained 
reason, there was an unaccountable delay in making 
the appointment. One stormy evening — the rain 
falling in torrents — Dr. Bellows, thinking few vis- 
itors likely to trouble the President in such a storm, 
determined to make a final appeal, and stepping 
into a carriage, he was driven to the White House. 
Upon entering the Executive Chamber, he found Mr. 
Lincoln alone, seated at the long table, busily en- 
gaged in signing a heap of congressional documents, 
which lay before him. He barely nodded to Dr. 
Bellows as he entered, having learned what to ex- 
pect, and kept straight on with his work. Standing 
opposite to him, Dr. B. employed his most powerful 
arguments, for ten or fifteen minutes, to accomplish 
the end sought, the President keeping steadily on 
signing the documents before him. Pausing, at 
length, to take breath, the clergyman was greeted 
in the most unconcerned manner, the pen still at 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 275 

work, with, — u Should n't wonder if Hammond 
was at this moment i Surgeon-General,' and had 
been for some time." 

" You don't mean to say, Mr. President," asked 
Dr. B. in surprise, " that the appointment has been 
made?" 

" I may say to you," returned Mr. Lincoln, for 
the first time looking up, "that it has; only you 
need n't tell of it just yet." 

In August, 1864, the prospects of the Union 
party, in reference to the Presidential election, 
became very gloomy. A friend, the private sec- 
retary of one of the cabinet ministers, who spent 
a few days in New York at this juncture, re- 
turned to Washington with so discouraging an 
account of the political situation, that after hearing 
it, the Secretary told him to go over to the White 
House and repeat it to the President. My friend 
said that he found Mr. Lincoln alone, looking more 
than usually careworn and sad. Upon hearing the 
statement, he walked two or three times across the 
floor in silence. Returning, he said with grim ear- 
nestness of tone and manner : " Well, I cannot run 
the political machine ; I have enough on my hands 
without that. It is the people's business, — the 
election is in their hands. If they turn their backs 
to the fire, and get scorched in the rear, they'll 
find they have got to i sit ' on the 'blister ' ! " 

Mr. Lincoln came to have an almost morbid 
dread of office-seekers, from whose importunity the 



276 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

executive of a republican government can neces- 
sarily never be free. Harassed with applications 
of every description, lie once said that it sometimes 
seemed as if every visitor " darted at him, and 
with thumb and finger carried off a portion of his 
vitality." 

As the day of his reinauguration approached, he 
said to Senator Clark, of New Hampshire, " Can't 
you and others start a public sentiment in favor of 
making no changes in offices except for good and 
sufficient cause ? It seems as though the bare 
thought of going through again what I did the 
first year here, would crush me." To another he 
said, " I have made up my mind to make very few 
changes in the offices in my gift for my second 
term. I think now that I will not remove a sin- 
gle man, except for delinquency. To remove a 
man is very easy, but when I go to fill his place, 
there are twenty applicants, and of these I must 
make nineteen enemies." " Under these circum- 
stances," says one of his friends, " Mr. Lincoln's 
natural charitv for all was often turned into an 
unwonted suspicion of the motives of men whose 
selfishness cost him so much wear of mind. Once 
he said, i Sitting here, where all the avenues to 
public patronage seem to come together in a knot, 
it does seem to me that our people are fast ap- 
proaching the point where it can be said that 
seven eighths of them are trying to find how to 
live at the expense of the other eighth." 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 277 

A year or more before Mr. Lincoln's death, a 
delegation of clergymen waited upon him in refer- 
ence to the appointment of the army chaplains. The 
delegation consisted of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, 
and an Episcopal clergyman. They stated that the 
character of many of the chaplains was notoriously 
bad, and they had come to urge upon the Presi- 
dent the necessity of more discretion in these ap- 
pointments. " But, gentlemen," said the Presi- 
dent, " that is a matter which the Government has 
nothing to do with ; the chaplains are chosen by 
the regiments." Not satisfied with this, the cler- 
gymen pressed, in turn, a change in the system. 
Mr. Lincoln heard them through without remark, 
and then said, "Without any disrespect, gentle- 
men, I will tell you a 'little story.' Once, in 
Springfield, I was going off on a short journey, and 
reached the depot a little ahead of time. Leaning 
against the fence just outside the depot was a little 
darkey boy, whom I knew, named ' Dick,' busily 
digging with his toe in a mud-puddle. As I came 
up, I said, 4 "Dick," what are you about ? ' ' Mak- 
ing a " church" ' said he. 4 A church ? ' said I ; ' what 
do you mean ? ' * Why, yes,' said ' Dick,' point- 
ing with his toe, * don't you see ? there is the shape 
of it ; there 's the " steps " and " front-door " — 
here the u pews," where the folks set — and there 's 
the « pulpit." ' 4 Yes, I see,' said I, ' but why don't 
you make a " minister ? " ' 4 Laws,' answered * Dick,' 
with a grin, ' I hain't got mud enough ! ' " 



278 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

« 

Mr. Lincoln had a dread of people who could not 
appreciate humor. He once instanced a member 
of his own cabinet, of whom he quoted the saying 
of Sydney Smith, that " it required a surgical 
operation to get a joke into his head." The light 
trifles of conversation diverted his mind, or, as he 
said of his theatre-going, gave him " a refuge from 
himself and his weariness." 

One of the last stories I heard from Mr. Lin- 
coln was concerning John Tyler, for whom it was 
to be expected, as an old Henry Clay Whig, he 
would entertain no great respect. " A year or two 
after Tyler's accession to the Presidency," said he, 
" contemplating an excursion in some direction, his 
son went to order a special train of cars. It so 
happened that the railroad superintendent was a 
very strong Whig. On 'Bob's' making known 
his errand, that official bluntly informed him that 
his road did not run any special trains for the Presi- 
dent. ' What ! ' said 4 Bob,' i did you not furnish 
a special train for the funeral of General Har- 
rison ? ' c Yes,' said the superintendent, stroking 
his whiskers ; ' and if you will only bring your 
father here in that shape, you shall have the best 
train on the road . ' 

" Once — on what was called a 'public day,' when 
Mr. Lincoln received all applicants in their turn — 
the writer * was struck by observing, as he passed 
through the corridor, the heterogeneous crowd of 

* Colonel Charles G. Halpine, New York Citizen, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 279 

men and women, representing all ranks and classes, 
who were gathered in the large waiting-room out- 
side the Presidential suite of offices, 

" Being ushered into the President's chamber by 
Major Hay, the first thing he saw was Mr. Lincoln 
bowing an elderly lady out of the door, — the Pres- 
ident's remarks to her being, as she still lingered 
and appeared reluctant to go : 'I am really very 
sorry, madam ; very sorry. But your own good 
sense must tell you that I am not here to collect 
small debts. You must appeal to the courts in 
regular order.' 

" When she was gone, Mr. Lincoln sat down, 
crossed his legs, locked his hands over his knees, 
and commenced to laugh, — this being his favorite 
attitude when much amused. 

" 4 What odd kinds of people come to see me,' 
he said ; ' and what odd ideas they must have 
about my office ! Would you believe it, Major, 
that old lady who has just left, came in here to get 
from me an order for stopping the pay of a treas- 
ury clerk, who owes her a board-bill of about sev- 
enty dollars ? ' And the President rocked himself 
backward and forward, and appeared intensely 
amused. 

" ' She may have come in here a loyal woman,' 
continued Mr. Lincoln ; ' but I '11 be bound she 
has gone away believing that the worst pictures of 
me in the Richmond press only lack truth in not 
being half black and bad enough.' 



280 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

44 This led to a somewhat general conversation, in 
which I expressed surprise that he did not adopt 
the plan in force at all military head-quarters, un- 
der which every applicant to see the general com- 
manding had to be filtered through a sieve of 
officers, — assistant adjutant-generals, and so forth, 
— who allowed none in to take up the general's time 
save such as they were satisfied, had business of 
sufficient importance, and which could be trans- 
acted in no other manner than by a personal 
interview. 

44 ' Of every hundred people who come to see the 
general -in-chief daily,' I explained, 4 not ten have 
any sufficient business with him, nor are they 
admitted. On being asked to explain for what 
purpose they desire to see him, and stating it, it is 
found, in nine cases out of ten, that the business 
properly belongs to some one or other of the sub- 
ordinate bureaus. They are then referred, as the 
case may be, to the quartermaster, commissary, 
medical, adjutant-general, or other departments, 
with an assurance that even if they saw the 
general-in-chief he could do nothing more for 
them than give the same direction. With these 
points courteously explained,' I added, ' they go 
away quite content, although refused admittance.' 

" ; Ah, yes!' said Mr. Lincoln, gravely, — and 
his words on this matter are important as illus- 
trating a rule of his action, and to some extent, 
perhaps, the essentially representative character of 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 281 

his mind and of his administration, — ' ah, yes, 
such things do very well for you military people, 
with your arbitrary rule, and in your camps. But 
the office of President is essentially a civil one, and 
the affair is very different. For myself, I feel — 
though the tax on my time is heavy — that no 
hours of my day are better employed than those 
which thus bring me again within the direct contact 
and atmosphere of the average of our whole people. 
Men moving only in an official circle are apt to 
become merely official — not to say arbitrary — in 
their ideas, and are apter and apter, with each 
passing day, to forget that they only hold power in 
a representative capacity. Now this is all wrong. 
I go into these promiscuous receptions of all who 
claim to have business with me twice each week, 
and every applicant for audience has to take his 
turn, as if waiting to be shaved in a barber's shop. 
Many of the matters brought to my notice are 
utterly frivolous, but others are of more or less 
importance, and all serve to renew in me a clearer 
and more vivid image of that great popular assem- 
blage out of which I sprung, and to which at the 
end of two years I must return. I tell you, Ma- 
jor,' he said, — appearing at this point to recollect 
I was in the room, for the former part of these 
remarks had been made with half-shut eyes, as if 
in soliloquy, — i I tell you that I call these recep- 
tions my " public-opifiion baths;" for I have but 
Ifttle time to read the papers and gather public 



282 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

opinion that way; and though they may not be 
pleasant in all their particulars, the effect, as a 
whole, is renovating and invigorating to my per- 
ceptions of responsibility and duty.' " 

No nobler reply ever fell from the lips of ruler, 
than that uttered by President Lincoln in response 
to the clergyman who ventured to say, in his pres- 
ence, that he hoped " the Lord was on our side." 

" I am not at all concerned about that," replied 
Mr. Lincoln, u for I know that the Lord is always 
on the side of the right. But it is my constant anx- 
iety and prayer that /and this nation should be on 
the Lord's side" 

In the midst of the despondency produced by the 
raid on Washington, in the summer of 1864, and 
the successful return of the Rebel force to Rich 
mond, the President's Proclamation of July 18th 
appeared, calling for five hundred thousand more 
men. 

In view of the impending presidential canvass, 
Mr. Lincoln's strongest friends looked upon this 
step, at this time, as calculated to utterly defeat his 
chances of reelection. Commissioner Dole ventured 
to say as much upon the President's announcement 
to him of his contemplated purpose. 

" It matters not what becomes of me," replied 
Mr. Lincoln ; " we must have the men ! If I go 
down, I intend to go like the Cumberland, with 
my colors flying ! " 

Upon Mr. Lincoln's return to Washington, after 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 288 

the capture of Richmond, a member of the Cabinet 
asked him if it would be proper to permit Jacob 
Thompson to slip through Maine in disguise, and 
embark from Portland. The President, as usual, was 
disposed to be merciful, and to permit the arch-rebel 
to pass unmolested, but the Secretary urged that he 
should be arrested as a traitor. " By permitting 
him to escape the penalties of treason," persistently 
remarked the Secretary, " you sanction it." "Well," 
replied Mr. Lincoln, "let me tell you a story. 
There was an Irish soldier here last summer, who 
wanted something to drink stronger than water, and 
stopped at a drug-shop, where he espied a soda-foun- 
tain. c Mr. Doctor,' said he, ' give me, plase, a 
glass of soda-bather, an' if yees can put in a few 
drops of whiskey unbeknown to any one, I '11 be 
obleeged.' Now," continued Mr. Lincoln, " if 
Jake Thompson is permitted to go through Maine 
unbeknown to anv one, what 's the harm ? So don't 
have him arrested." 

I asked the President, during the progress of the 
battles of the Wilderness, how General Grant per- 
sonally impressed him as compared with other offi- 
cers of the army, and especially those who had been 
in command. 

44 The great thing about Grant," said he, " I 
take it, is his perfect coolness and persistency of 
purpose. I judge he is not easily excited, — which 
is a great element in an officer, — and he has the 
grit of a bull-dog ! Once let him get his 4 teeth ' 
in, and nothing can shake him off." 



284 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

One of the latest of Mr. Lincoln's stories was 
told to a party of gentlemen, who, amid the tum- 
bling ruins of the 4 Confederacy,' anxiously asked 
" what he would do with ' Jeff. Davis ' ? " 

" There was a boy in Springfield," rejoined Mr. 
Lincoln, u who saved up his money and bought a 
4 coon,' which, after the novelty wore off, became a 
great nuisance. He was one day leading him through 
the streets, and had his hands full to keep clear of 
the little vixen, who had torn his clothes half off 
of him. At length he sat down on the curb-stone, 
completely fagged out. A man passing was stopped 
by the lad's disconsolate appearance, and asked the 
matter. * Oh,' was the reply, ' this coon is such 
a trouble to me ! ' ' Why don't you get rid of him, 
then ? ' said the gentleman. 4 Hush ! ' said the boy ; 
1 don't you see he is gnawing his rope off? I am 
going to let him do it, and then I will go home and 
tell the folks that he got away from me? ' " 



LXIX. 

The last story told by Mr. Lincoln was drawn 
out by a circumstance which occurred just before 
the interview with Messrs. Colfax and Ashmun, on 
the evening of his assassination. 

Marshal Lamon of Washington had called upon 
him with an application for the pardon of a soldier. 
After a brief hearing the President took the appli 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 285 



• 



cation, and when about to write his name upon the 
back of it, he looked up and said : " Lamon, have 
you ever heard how the Patagonians eat oysters ? 
They open them and throw the shells out of the 
window until the pile gets higher than the house, 
and then they move ; " adding: " I feel to-day like 
commencing a new pile of pardons, and I may as 
well begin it just here." 

At the subsequent interview with Messrs. Colfax 
and Ashmun, Mr. Lincoln was in high spirits. 
The uneasiness felt by his friends during his visit to 
Richmond was dwelt upon, when he sportively 
replied that he "supposed he should have been 
uneasy also, had any other man been President 
and gone there ; but as it was, he felt no appre- 
hension of danger whatever." Turning to Speaker 
Colfax, he said : " Sumner has the ' gavel ' of the 
Confederate Congress, which he got at Richmond, 
and intended to give to the Secretary of War, but 
I insisted he must give it to you, and you tell him 
from me to hand it over." 

Mr. Ashmun, who was the presiding officer of 
the Chicago Convention in 1860, alluded to the 
" gavel " used on that occasion, saying he had pre- 
served it as a valuable memento. 

Mr. Ashmun then referred to a matter of busi- 
ness connected with a cotton claim, preferred by a 
client of his, and said that he desired to have a 
'' commission " appointed to examine and decide 



286 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

upon the merits of the case. Mr. Lincoln replied, 
with considerable warmth of manner, " I have done 
with ' commissions.' I believe they are contrivances 
to cheat the Government out of every pound of cotton 
they can lay their hands on." Mr. Ashmun's face 
flushed, and he replied that he hoped the President 
meant no personal imputation. 

Mr. Lincoln saw that he had wounded his friend, 
and he instantly replied : " You did not understand 
me, Ashmun. I did not mean what you inferred. 
1 take it all back." Subsequently he said : " I 
apologize to you, Ashmun." 

He then engaged to see Mr. Ashmun early the 
next morning, and taking a card, he wrote : 

" Allow Mr. Ashmun and friend to come in at 
9 A. m. to-morrow. A. Lincoln." 

These were his last written words. Turning to. 
Mr. Colfax he said: "You will accompany Mrs. 
Lincoln and me to the theatre, I hope ? " Mr. 
Colfax pleaded other engagements, — expecting to 
start on his Pacific trip the next morning. The 
party passed out on the portico together, the Presi- 
dent saying at the very last, " Colfax, don't forget 
to tell the people of the mining regions what I told 
you this morning about the development when 
peace comes ; " then shaking hands with both gen- 
tlemen, he followed Mrs. Lincoln into the carriage, 
leaning forward, at the last moment, to say as they 
were driven off, " I will telegraph you, Colfax, at 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 287 

San Francisco," — passing thus forth for the last 
time from under that roof into the creeping shad- 
ows which were to settle before another dawn into 
a funeral pall upon the orphaned heart of the 
nation. 



LXX. 

" On the Monday before the assassination,* 
when the President was on his return from Rich- 
mond, he stopped at City Point. Calling upon 
the head surgeon at that place, Mr. Lincoln told 
him that he wished to visit all the hospitals under 
his charge, and shake hands with every soldier. 
The surgeon asked if he knew what he was 
undertaking, there being five or six thousand 
soldiers at that place, and it would be quite a 
tax upon his strength to visit all the wards and 
shake hands with every soldier. Mr. Lincoln an- 
swered with a smile, he ' guessed he was equal to 
the task ; at any rate he would try, and go as far 
as he could ; he should never, probably, see the 
boys again, and he wanted them to know that he 
appreciated what they had done for their country.' 

" Finding it useless to try to dissuade him, the 
surgeon began his rounds with the President, who 
walked from bed to bed, extending his hand to all, 
Raying a few words of sympathy to some, making 

* Correspondence of the N. Y. Independent. 



288 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

kind inquiries of others, and welcomed by all with 
the heartiest cordiality. 

" As they passed along, they came to a ward in 
which lay a Rebel who had been wounded and was 
a prisoner. As the tall figure of the kindly visitor 
appeared in sight he was recognized by the Rebel 
soldier, who, raising himself on his elbow in bed, 
watched Mr. Lincoln as he approached, and extend- 
ing his hand exclaimed, while tears ran down his 
cheeks : i Mr. Lincoln, I have long wanted to see 
you, to ask your forgiveness for ever raising my 
hand against the old flag.' Mr. Lincoln was moved 
to tears. He heartily shook the hand of the re- 
pentant Rebel, and assured him of his good-will, 
and with a few words of kind advice passed on. 

" After some hours the tour of the various hospi- 
tals was made, and Mr. Lincoln returned with the 
surgeon to his office. They had scarcely entered, 
however, when a messenger came saying that one 
ward had been omitted, and l the boys ' wanted to 
see the President. The surgeon, who was thor- 
oughly tired, and knew Mr. Lincoln must be, tried 
to dissuade him from going ; but the good man said 
he must go back ; he would not knowingly omit one, 
4 the boys ' would be so disappointed. So he went 
with the messenger, accompanied by the surgeon, 
and shook hands with the gratified soldiers, and 
then returned again to the office. 

" The surgeon expressed the fear that the Pres- 
ident's arm would be lamed with so much hand- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 289 

shaking, saying that it certainly must ache. Mr. 
Lincoln smiled, and saying something about his 
4 strong muscles,' stepped out at the open door, 
took up a very large, heavy axe which lay there by 
a log of wood, and chopped vigorously for a few 
moments, sending the chips flying in all directions ; 
and then, pausing, he extended his right arm to its 
full length, holding the axe out horizontally, with- 
out its even quivering as he held it. Strong men 
who looked on — men accustomed to manual labor 
— could not hold the same axe in that position for 
a moment. Returning to the office, he took a glass 
of lemonade, for he would take no stronger bever- 
age; and while he was within, the chips he had 
chopped were gathered up and safely cared for by 
a hospital steward, because they were 'the chips 
that Father Abraham chopped.' In a few hours 
more the beloved President was at home in Wash 
ington ; in a few days more he had passed away 
and a bereaved nation was in mourning." 

LXXI. 

Mr. Lincoln returned from Richmond with a 
heart-full purpose to issue immediately a proclama- 
tion for a day of National Thanksgiving. " Baby- 
lon " had fallen, and with his own eyes, as from 
another Pisgah, he had looked over into the prom- 
ised land of Peace, — a land which, like his great 
prototype, his feet were not to tread I 

19 



290 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

During his absence from Washington, Secretary 
Seward met with the serious accident by which his 
arm and jaw were broken. Mr. Lincoln's first visit 
was to the house of the Secretary, who was con- 
fined to his bed by his injuries. After a few words 
of sympathy and condolence, with a countenance 
beaming with joy and satisfaction, he entered upon 
an account of his visit to Richmond, and the glori- 
ous success of Grant, — throwing himself, in his 
almost boyish exultation, at full length across the 
bed, supporting his head upon one hand, and in this 
manner reciting the story of the collapse of the 
Rebellion. Concluding, he lifted himself up and 
said : u And now for a day of Thanksgiving ! ' 
Mr. Seward entered fully into his feelings, but ob- 
served, with characteristic caution, that the issue 
between Sherman and Johnston had not yet been 
decided, and a premature celebration might have 
the effect to nerve the remaining army of the 
Confederacy to greater desperation. He advised, 
therefore, no official designation of a day " until 
the result of Sherman's combinations w T as known." 
Admitting the force of the Secretary's view, Mr. 
Lincoln reluctantly gave up the purpose, and three 
days later suffered in his own person the last, most 
atrocious, but culminating act of the most wicked 
of all rebellions recorded on the pages of history ! 
It was the last interview on earth between the 
President and his Secretary of State. 

This incident, related by Mr. Sew r ard to a friend * 

* J. C. Derby, Esq., of New York. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 291 

while slowly recovering from the murderous attack 
upon himself, was followed by an interesting account 
of his personal relations with Mr. Lincoln. " No 
knife was ever sharp enough to divide us upon 
any question of public policy," said the Secretary; 
u though we frequently arrived at the same con- 
clusion through different processes of thought." 
" Once only," he continued, musingly, "did we dis- 
agree in sentiment." Mr. D. inquired the subject 
of dissent. " His i colonization ' scheme," was the 
reply, " which I opposed on the self-evident prin- 
ciple that all natives of a country have an equal 
right in its soil." 

The knowledge of the terrible calamity which 
had befallen the nation was rigidly withheld from 
Mr. Seward at the time, his physician fearing that 
the shock would be too great for him to bear. The 
Sunday following, he had his bed wheeled around 
so that he could see the tops of the trees in the 
park opposite his residence, — just putting on their 
spring foliage, — when his eyes caught sight of the 
Stars and Stripes at half-mast on the War Depart- 
ment, on which he gazed awhile, then turning tc 
his attendant, said : " The President is dead ! " 
The confused attendant stammered as he tried to 
say nay ; but the Secretary could not be deceived. 
" If he had been alive, he would have been the 
first to call on me," he continued ; " but he has not 
been here, nor has he sent to know how I am ; and 
there is the flag at half-mast." The statesman's 



292 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

inductive reason had discerned the truth, and in 
silence the great tears coursed down his gashed 
cheeks, as it sank into his heart. 

lxxh. 

At the Cabinet meeting held the morning of the 
day of the assassination, it was afterward remem- 
bered, a remarkable circumstance occurred. Gen- 
eral Grant was present, and during a Jull in the 
discussion the President turned to him and asked 
if he had heard from General Sherman. General 
Grant replied that he had not, but was in hourly 
expectation of receiving despatches from him an- 
nouncing the surrender of Johnston. 

"Well," said the President, "you will hear 
very soon now, and the news will be important." 

" Why do you think so ? " said the General. 

" Because," said Mr. Lincoln, " I had a dream 
last night ; and ever since the war began, I have 
invariably had the same dream before any impor- 
tant military event occurred." He then instanced 
Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, etc., and said 
that before each of these events, he had had the 
same dream ; and turning to Secretary Welles, 
said: "It is in your line, too, Mr. Welles. The 
dream is, that I saw a ship sailing very rapidly ; 
and I am sure that it portends some important 
national event." 

Later in the day, dismissing all business, the 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 293 

carriage was ordered for a drive. When asked by 
Mrs. Lincoln if he would like any one to accom- 
pany them, he replied, " No ; I prefer to ride by 
ourselves to-day." Mrs. Lincoln subsequently said 
that she never saw him seem so supremely happy 
as on this occasion. In reply to a remark to this 
effect, the President said : " And well I may feel 
so, Mary, for I consider this day the war has come 
to a close." And then added : " We must both be 
more cheerful in the future ; between the war and 
the loss of our darling Willie, we have been very 
miserable." 

Little " Tad's " frantic grief upon being told 
that his father had been shot was alluded to in 
the Washington correspondence of the time. For 
twenty-four hours the little fellow was perfectly 
inconsolable. Sunday morning, however, the sun 
rose in unclouded splendor, and in his simplicity he 
looked upon this as a token that his father was 
happy. " Do you think my father has gone to 
heaven ? " he asked of a gentleman who had called 
upon Mrs. Lincoln. " I have not a doubt of it," 
was the reply. " Then," he exclaimed, in his 
broken way, " I am glad he has gone there, for he 
never was happy after he came here. This was 
not a good place for him ! " 



294. srx MONTHS AT the white house. 

LXXIH. 

"President Lincoln," says the Hon. W. D. 
Kelly,* "was a large and many-sided man, and 
yet so simple that no one, not even a child, could 
approach him without feeling that he had found in 
him a sympathizing friend. I remember that I 
apprised him of the fact that a lad, the son of one 
of my townsmen, had served a year on board the 
gunboat Ottawa, and had been in two important 
engagements; in the first as a powder-monkey, 
when he had conducted himself with such coolness 
that he had been chosen as captain's messenger in 
the second ; and I suggested to the President that 
it was in his power to send to the Naval School, 
annually, three boys who had served at least a year 
in the navy. 

" He at once wrote on the back of a letter from 
the commander of the Ottawa, which I had handed 
him, to the Secretary of the Navy: 'If the ap- 
pointments for this year have not been made, let 
this boy be appointed.' The appointment had not 
been made, and I brought it home with me. It 
directed the lad to report for examination at the 
school in July. Just as he was ready to start, his 
father, looking over the law, discovered that he 
could not report until he was fourteen years of age, 
which he would not be until September follow- 
ing. The poor child sat down and wept. He 
* Address in Philadelphia upon the death of Mr. Lincoln. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 295 

feared that he was not to go to the Naval School. 
He was, however, soon consoled by being told that 
1 the President could make it right.' It was my 
fortune to meet him the next morning at the door 
of the Executive Chamber with his father. 

" Taking by the hand the little fellow, — short 
for his age, dressed in the sailor's blue pants and 
shirt, — I advanced with him to the President, who 
sat in his usual seat, and said : ' Mr. President, 
my young friend, Willie Bladen, finds a difficulty 
about his appointment. You have directed him to 
appear at the school in July ; but he is not yet 
fourteen years of age.' But before I got half of 
this out, Mr. Lincoln, laying down his spectacles, 
rose and said : ' Bless me ! is that the boy who did 
so gallantly in those two great battles ? Why, I 
feel that I should bow to him, and not he to me.' 

" The little fellow had made his graceful bow. 
The President took the papers at once, and as soon 
as he learned that a postponement till September 
would suffice, made the order that the lad should 
report in that month. Then putting his hand on 
Willie's head, he said : 4 Now, my boy, go home 
and have good fun during the two months, for they 
are about the last holiday you will get.' The little 
fellow bowed himself out, feeling that the Presi- 
dent of the United States, though a very great 
man, was one that he would nevertheless like to 
have a game of romps with." 

There was not unfrequently a curious mingling 



296 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

of humor and pathos exhibited in Mr. Lincoln's 
exercise of the pardoning power. Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor Ford, of Ohio, had an appointment with him 
one evening at six o'clock. As he entered the 
vestibule of the White House his attention was 
attracted by a poorly clad young woman who was 
violently sobbing. He asked her the cause of her 
distress. She said that she had been ordered away 
by the servants, after vainly waiting many hours to 
see the President about her only brother, who had 
been condemned to death. Her story was this: 
She and her brother were foreigners, and orphans. 
They had been in this country several years. Her 
brother enlisted in the army, but, through bad 
influences, was induced to desert. He was cap- 
tured, tried, and sentenced to be shot — the old 
story. The poor girl had obtained the signatures 
of some persons who had formerly known him to 
a petition for a pardon, and, alone, had come to 
Washington to lay the case before the President. 
Thronged as the waiting-rooms always were, she 
had passed the long hours of two days trying in 
vain to get an audience, and had at length been 
ordered away. 

Mr. Ford's sympathies were at once enlisted. 
He said that he had come to see the President, but 
did not know as he should succeed. He told her, 
however, to follow him up-stairs, and he would see 
what could be done. Just before reaching the 
door, Mr. Lincoln came out, and meeting his friend, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 297 

Baid good-humoredly, " are you not ahead of 
time?" Mr. Ford showed his watch, w T ith the 
pointers upon the hour of six. " Well," replied 
Mr. Lincoln, " I have been so busy to-day that I 
have not had time to get a lunch. Go in and sit 
down ; I will be back directly." 

Mr. Ford made the young woman accompany 
him into the office, and when they were seated, 
said to her : " Now, my good girl, I want you to 
muster all the courage you have in the world. 
When the President comes back he will sit down 
in that arm-chair. I shall get up to speak to him, 
and as I do so you must force yourself between 
us, and insist upon his examination of your papers, 
telling him it is a case of life and death, and admits 
of no delay." These instructions were carried out 
to the letter. Mr. Lincoln was at first somewhat 
surprised at the apparent forwardness of the young 
woman, but observing her distressed appearance, 
he ceased conversation with his friend, and com- 
menced an examination of the document she had 
placed in his hands. Glancing from it to the face 
of the petitioner, whose tears had broken forth 
afresh, he studied its expression for a moment, and 
then his eye fell upon her scanty but neat dress. 
Instantly his face lighted up. " My poor girl," 
said he, " you have come here with no governor, 
or senator, or member of congress, to plead you" 
cause. You seem honest and truthful ; and " — 
with much emphasis — "you don't wear ' hoops; 



298 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

and I will be whipped but I will pardon your 
brother ! " 

Among the applicants received on another occa- 
sion by the President, was a woman who had also 
met with considerable difficulty and delay in getting 
admission to him. She said that her husband had 
been arrested some months before and sent to the 
44 Old Capitol " prison ; that he had not been 
44 tried," and could not learn as he was likely to 
be ; and she appealed to the President as a hus- 
band and father to interfere and order an imme- 
diate trial. Mr. Lincoln said he was sorry this 
could not be done, — adding that such cases were 
much like the different sacks of grain at a country 
grist-mill, all " waiting their turn to be ground," 
and that it would be unfair for the "miller" to 
show any 44 partiality." The woman left, but the 
next day appeared again before him. Recognizing 
her, Mr. Lincoln asked if anything 44 new " had 
happened. " No," replied the woman ; " but I 
have been thinking, sir, about what you said con- 
cerning the 4 grists,' and I am afraid mine will get 
4 mouldy ' and 4 spoil ' before its turn comes around, 
so I have come to ask, Mr. President, that it may 
be taken to some other 4 mill ' to be ground." 

Mr. Lincoln was so much amused at the wit 
and shrewdness of the request, that he instantly 
gave the woman an unconditional discharge for her 
husband. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 299 

LXXIV. 

" Good morning, Abe ! " was the greeting ad- 
dressed to the President, as we sat together in his 
office one morning, — he absorbed at his desk, and 
I with my pencil. I looked up in astonishment at 
the unaccustomed familiarity. 

" Whv, Dennis," returned Mr. Lincoln, " is this 

you ? " ' 

11 Yes, Abe," was the rejoinder ; " I made up my 
mind I must come down and see you once while 
you were President, anyhow. So here I am, all the 
way from Sangamon." 

Sitting down, side by side, it would have been 
difficult for one unfamiliar with democratic institu- 
tions to tell, by the appearance or conversation, 
which was the President and which the back-coun- 
tryman, save that from time to time I overheard the 
man addressed as " Dennis " refer to family trials 
and hardships, and intimate that one object of his 
journey so far, was to see if his old friend " could 
not do something for one of his boys? " 

The response to this was : " Now, Dennis, sit 
down and write out what you w T ant, so that I can 
have it before me, and I will see what can be done." 

I have always supposed that this was " Dennis 
Hanks," the early companion and friend of Mr. 
Lincoln ; but my attention at the time being di- 
verted, the matter passed out of my mind, and I 
neglected subsequently to inquire. 



300 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

About this period — it may have been the fol- 
lowing evening — the house was thrown into an 
uproar by a performance of little " Tad's." I was 
sitting in Mr. Nicolay's room, about ten o'clock 
when Robert Lincoln came in with a flushed face. 
" Well," said he, " I have just had a great row 
with the President of the United States ! " 

« What ? " said I. 

"Yes," he replied, " and very good cause there is 
for it, too. Do you know," he continued, " « Tad' 
went over to the War Department to-day, and 
Stanton, for the fun of the thing, — putting him a 
peg above the ' little corporal ' of the French Gov- 
ernment, — commissioned him ; lieutenant.' On the 
strength of this, what does ' Tad ' do but go off and 
order a quantity of muskets sent to the house ! To- 
night he had the audacity to discharge the guard, 
and he then mustered all the gardeners and ser- 
vants, gave them the guns, drilled them, and put 
them on duty in their place. I found it out an hour 
ago," continued Robert, " and thinking it a great 
shame, as the men had been hard at work all day, I 
went to father with it; but instead of punishing 
4 Tad,' as I think he ought, he evidently looks upon 
it as a good joke, and won't do anything about it ! ' 

44 Tad," however, presently went to bed, and then 
the men were quietly discharged. And so it hap- 
pened that the presidential mansion was unguarded 
one night, at least, during the war ! 

The second week in July the w r hole country, and 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 3i/l 

Washington in particular, was thrown into a fever ol 
anxiety by the rebel raid upon that city under Earlj 
and Breckinridge. The night of Sunday, the 10th, 
I have always believed the city might have been 
captured had the enemy followed up his advantage 
The defences were weak, and there were compara- 
tively but few troops in the city or vicinity. All 
day Monday the excitement was at the highest 
pitch. At the White House the cannonading at 
Fort Stevens was distinctly heard throughout the 
day. During Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, the 
President visited the forts and outworks, part of the 
time accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln. While at Fort 
Stevens on Monday, both were imprudently ex- 
posed, — rifle - balls coming, in several instances, 
alarmingly near ! 

The almost defenceless condition of the city was 
the occasion of much censure. Some blamed Gen- 
eral Halleck ; others General Augur, the com- 
mander of the Department ; others the Secretary 
of War; and still others the President. 

Subsequently the rebel force returned to Rich- 
mond almost unharmed. I saw no one who ap- 
peared to take this more to heart than Mrs. Lin- 
coln, who was inclined to lay the responsibility at 
the door of the Secretary of War. 

Two or three weeks later, when tranquillity was 
perfectly restored, it was said that Stanton called 
upon the President and Mrs. Lincoln one evening 
at the "Soldiers' Home." In the course of conver- 



302 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

sation the Secretary said, playfully, " Mrs. Lin- 
coln, I intend to have a full-length portrait of you 
painted, standing on the ramparts at Fort Stevens 
overlooking; the fight ! " 

" That is very well," returned Mrs. Lincoln, very 
promptly ; " and I can assure you of one thing, Mr. 
Secretary, if I had had a few ladies with me the 
Rebels would not have been permitted to get away 
as they did ! " 

LXXV. 

It was not generally known before the publica- 
tion of Dr. Holland's biography of Mr. Lincoln, 
that he was once engaged in a "duel," although a 
version of the affair had been published previous 
to his biographer's account of it, which, however, 
the few who saw it were disposed to regard as a 
fabrication. 

One evening, at the rooms of the Hon. I. N. 
Arnold, of Illinois, I met Dr. Henry, of Oregon, 
an early and intimate friend of Mr. Lincoln's. Mr. 
Arnold asked me in the course of conversation if 
I had ever heard of the President's " duel " with 
General Shields ? I replied that I might have seen 
a statement of the kind, but did not suppose it to 
be true. " Well," said Mr. Arnold, " we were all 
young folks together at the time in Springfield. 
In some way a difficulty occurred between Shields 
and Lincoln, resulting in a challenge from Shields, 
which was at length accepted, Mr. Lincoln nam- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 303 

ing ' broadswords ' for weapons, and the two oppo- 
site banks of the Mississippi, where the river was 
about a mile wide, for the ' ground? " 

Dr. Henry, who had listened quietly to this, here 
broke in, " That will do for a ' story,' Arnold," 
said he, " but it will hardly pass with me, for I 
happened to be Lincoln's ' second ' on the occasion i 
The facts are these. You will bear me witness 
that there was never a more spirited circle of young 
folks in one town than lived in Springfield at that 
period. Shields, you remember, was a great ' beau? 
For a bit of amusement one of the young ladies 
wrote some verses, taking him off sarcastically, 
which were abstracted from her writing-desk by 
a mischievous friend, and published in the local 
newspaper. Shields, greatly irritated, posted at 
once to the printing-office and demanded the name 
of the author. Much frightened, the editor re 
quested a day or two to consider the matter, and 
upon getting rid of Shields went directly to Mr. 
Lincoln with his trouble. 

" ' Tell Shields,' was the chivalric rejoinder, c that 
I hold myself responsible for the verses.' The 
next day Mr. Lincoln left for a distant section to 
attend court. Shields, boiling over with wrath, 
followed and i challenged ' him. Scarcely know- 
ing what he did, Mr. Lincoln accepted the chal- 
lenge, seeing no alternative. The choice of weap- 
ons being left to him, he named 4 broadswords,' 
intending to act only on the defensive, and think- 



304 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

ing his long arms would enable him to keep clear 
of his antagonist. 

" I was then a young surgeon," continued Dr. 
Henry, " and Mr. Lincoln desired me accompany 
him to the point chosen for the contest, — c Bloody 
Island,' in the Mississippi, near St. Louis, — as his 
1 second.' To this I at length consented, hoping 
to prevent bloodshed. On our way to the ground 
we met Colonel Hardin, a friend of both parties, 
and a cousin of the lady who was the real offender. 
Suspecting something wrong, Hardin subsequently 
followed us, coming in upon the party just as Lin- 
coln was clearing up the underbrush which covered 
the ground. Entering heartily upon an attempt at 
pacification, he at length succeeded in mollifying 
Shields, and the whole party returned harmoniously 
to Springfield, and thus the matter ended." 

This version of the affair coming from an eye- 
witness is undoubtedly in all inspects correct. It 
subsequently came in my way to know that Mr. 
Lincoln himself regarded the circumstance with 
much regret and mortification, and hoped it might 
be forgotten. In February preceding his death a 
distinguished officer of the army called at the White 
House, and was entertained by the President and 
Mrs. Lincoln for an hour in the parlor. During 
the conversation the gentleman said, turning to 
Mrs. Lincoln, " Is it true, Mr. President, as I have 
heard, that you once went out to fight a l duel ' fox 
the sake of the lady by your side ? " 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 305 

" I do not deny it," replied Mr. Lincoln, witl' 
a flushed face; "but if you desire my friendship 
you will never mention the circumstance again ! " 



LXXVL 

In August following the rebel raid, Judge J. T. 
Mills, of Wisconsin, in company with ex-Governor 
Randall, of that State, called upon the President at 
the " Soldiers' Home." 

Judge Mills subsequently published the following 

account of the interview, in the " Grar ■ County 

(Wisconsin) Herald " : — 

. . *•••• •• 

" The Governor addressed him : ' Mr. President, 
this is my friend and your friend Mills, from Wis- 
consin.' 

" c I am glad to see my friends from Wisconsin ; 
they are the hearty friends of the Union.' 

" ( I could not leave the city, Mr. President, 
without hearing words of cheer from your own lips. 
Upon you, as the representative of the loyal people, 
depend, as we believe, the existence of our govern- 
ment and the future of America.' 

" 4 Mr. President,' said Governor Randall, i why 
can't you seek seclusion, and play hermit for a fort- 
night ? it would reinvigorate you.' 

" fc Aye,' said the President, 4 two or three weeks 
would do me good, but I cannot fly from my 
thoughts ; my solicitude for this great country fol- 

20 



306 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

lows me wherever I go. I don't think it is personal 
vanity or ambition, though I am not free from these 
infirmities, but I cannot but feel that the weal or 
woe of this great nation will be decided in Novem- 
ber. There is no programme offered by any wing 
of the Democratic party but that must result in the 
permanent destruction of the Union.' 

" 4 But Mr. President, General McClellan is in 
favor of crushing out the rebellion by force. He 
will be the Chicago candidate.' 

" 4 Sir,' said the President, i the slightest knowl- 
edge of arithmetic will prove to any man that the 
rebel armies cannot be destroyed by democratic 
strategy. It would sacrifice all the white men of 
the North to do it. There are now in the service 
of the United States near two hundred thousand 
able-bodied colored men, most of them under arms, 
defending and acquiring Union territory. The 
democratic strategy demands that these forces should 
be disbanded, and that the masters be conciliated by 
restoring them to slavery. The black men who now 
assist Union prisoners to escape are to be converted 
into our enemies, in the vain hope of gaining the 
good-will of their masters. We shall have to fight 
two nations instead of one. 

" ' You cannot conciliate the South if you guar- 
antee to them ultimate success ; and the experience 
of the present war proves their success is inevitable 
if you fling the compulsory labor of millions of black 
men into their side of the scale. Will you give 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 307 

our enemies such military advantages as insure suc- 
cess, and then depend on coaxing, flattery, and con- 
cession, to get them back into the Union ? Aban- 
don all the posts now garrisoned by black men ; 
take two hundred thousand men from our side and 
put them in the battle-field or cornfield against us, 
and we would be compelled to abandon the war in 
three weeks. 

" ' We have to hold territory in inclement and 
sickly places ; where are the Democrats to do this ? 
It was a free fight, and the field was open to the 
"War Democrats to put down this rebellion by fight- 
ing against both master and slave long before the 
present policy was inaugurated. 

u ' There have been men base enough to propose 
to me to return to slavery the black warriors of 
Port Hudson and Olustee, and thus win the respect 
of the masters they fought. Should I do so, I should 
deserve to be damned in time and eternity. Come 
what will, I will keep my faith with friend and foe.* 
My enemies pretend I am now carrying on this war 
for the sole purpose of Abolition. So long as I am 
President, it shall be carried on for the sole purpose 
of restoring the Union. But no human power can 
subdue this rebellion without the use of the emanci- 
pation policy, and every other policy calculated to 
weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebel- 
lion. 

" c Freedom has given us two hundred thousand 
men raised on Southern soil. It will give us more 



308 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

yet. Just so much it has subtracted from the en- 
emy, and instead of alienating the South, there are 
now evidences of a fraternal feeling growing up be- 
tween our men and the rank and file of the rebel 
soldiers. Let my enemies prove to the country 
that the destruction of slavery is not necessary 
to a restoration of the Union. I will abide the 
issue.' 

" I saw that the President was a man of deep 
convictions, of abiding faith in justice, truth, and 
Providence. His voice was pleasant, his manner 
earnest and emphatic. As he warmed with his 
theme, his mind grew to the magnitude of his body. 
I felt I was in the presence of the great guiding in- 
tellect of the age, and that those ' huge Atlantean 
shoulders were fit to bear the weight of mightiest 
monarchies.' His transparent honesty, republican 
simplicity, his gushing sympathy for those who of- 
fered their lives for their country, his utter forget- 
fulness of self in his concern for its welfare, could 
not but inspire me with confidence that he was 
Heaven's instrument to conduct his people through 
this sea of blood to a Canaan of peace and freedom." 



lxxvh. 

No reminiscence of the late President has been 
given to the public more thoroughly valuable and 
characteristic than a sketch which appeared in the 
New York " Independent " of September 1st, 1864, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 309 

from the pen of the Rev. J. P. Gulliver, of Nor- 
wich, Connecticut : — 

" It was just after his controversy with Douglas, 
and some months before the meeting of the Chicago 
Convention of 1860, that Mr. Lincoln came to 
Norwich to make a political speech. It was in 
substance the famous speech delivered in New 
York, commencing with the noble words : ' There 
is but one political question before the people of 
this country, which is this, Is slavery right, or is it 
wrong ? ' and ending with the yet nobler words : 
4 Gentlemen, it has been said of the world's history 
hitherto that " might makes right ; " it is for us and 
for our times to reverse the maxim, and to show 
that right makes might ! ' 

" The next morning I met him at the railroad 
station, where he was conversing with our Mayor, 
every few minutes looking up the track and inquir- 
ing, half impatiently and half quizzically, ; Where 's 
that ' wagon ' of yours ? Why don't the ' wagon ' 
come along ? ' On being introduced to him, he 
fixed his eyes upon me, and said : i I have seen you 
before, sir ! ' ' I think not,' I replied ; c you must 
mistake me for some other person.' 4 No, I don't ; 
I saw you at the Town Hall, last evening.' ' Is it 
possible, Mr. Lincoln, that you could observe indi- 
viduals so closely in such a crowd ? ' * Oh, yes ! ' 
he replied, laughing ; ' that is my way. I don't 
forget faces. Were you not there ? ' 'I was, sir, 
and I was well paid for going ; ' adding, somewhat 



310 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

in the vein of pleasantry he had started, 4 1 con- 
sider it one of the most extraordinary speeches I 
ever heard.' 

" As we entered the cars, he beckoned me to 
take a seat with him, and said, in a most agreeably 
frank way, ' Were you sincere in what you said 
about my speech just now ? ' * I meant every 
word of it, Mr. Lincoln. Why, an old dyed-in- 
the-wool Democrat, who sat near me, applauded 
you repeatedly ; and, when rallied upon his con- 
version to sound principles, answered, " I don't be- 
lieve a w^ord he says, but I can't help clapping 
him, he is so pat!" That I call the triumph of 
oratory, — 

11 When you convince a man against his will, 
Though he is of the same opinion still. 1 ' 

Indeed, sir, I learned more of the art of public 
speaking last evening than I could from a whole 
course of lectures on Rhetoric' 

" ' Ah ! that reminds me,' said he, 4 of a most 
extraordinary circumstance which occurred in New 
Haven the other day. They told me that the Pro- 
fessor of Rhetoric in Yale College, — a very learned 
man, is n't he ? ' 

" 4 Yes, sir, and a fine critic too.' 

" ' Well, I suppose so ; he ought to be, at any 
rate, — they told me that he came to hear me, and 
took notes of my speech, and gave a lecture on it 
to his class the next day ; and, not satisfied with 
that, he followed me up to Meriden the next even- 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 311 

ing, and heard me again for the same purpose. 
Now, if this is so, it is to my mind very extraordi- 
nary. I have been sufficiently astonished at my 
success in the West It has been most unexpected. 
But I had no thought of any marked success at 
the East, and least of all that I should draw out 
such commendations from literary and learned men. 
Now,' he continued, i I should like very much to 
know what it was in my speech you thought so 
remarkable, and what you suppose interested my 
friend, the Professor, so much.' 

" ' The clearness of your statements, Mr. Lin- 
coln ; the unanswerable style of your reasoning, 
and especially your illustrations, which were ro- 
mance and pathos, and fun and logic all welded 
together. That story about the snakes, for ex- 
ample, which set the hands and feet of your Dem- 
ocratic hearers in such vigorous motion, w 7 as at once 
queer and comical, and tragic and argumentative. 
It broke through all the barriers of a man's previ- 
ous opinions and prejudices at a crash, and blew up 
the very citadel of his false theories before he could 
know what had hurt him.' 

" ' Can you remember any other illustrations,' 
said he, 4 of this peculiarity of my style ? ' 

" I gave him others of the same sort, occupying 
some half-hour in the critique, when he said : ' I 
am much obliged to you for this. I have been 
wishing for a long time to find some one who would 
make this analysis for me. It throws light on a 



512 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

subject which has been dark to me. I can under- 
stand very readily how such a power as you have 
ascribed to me will account for the effect which 
seems to be produced by my speeches. I hope you 
have not been too flattering in your estimate. Cer- 
tainly, I have had a most wonderful success, for a 
man of my limited education.' 

" 6 That suggests, Mr. Lincoln, an inquiry which 
has several times been upon my lips during this 
conversation. I want very much to know how 
you got this unusual power of "putting things." 
It must have been a matter of education. No man 
has it by nature alone. What has your education 
been ? ' 

" ' Well, as to education, the newspapers are cor- 
rect ; I never went to school more than six months 
in my life. But, as you say, this must be a product 
of culture in some form. I have been putting the 
question you ask me to myself, while you have 
been talking. I can say this, that among my ear- 
liest recollections I remember how, when a mere 
child, I used to get irritated when any body talked 
to me in a way I could not understand. I don't 
think I ever got angry at anything else in my life. 
But that always disturbed my temper, and has ever 
since. I can remember going to my little bed- 
room, after hearing the neighbors talk of an even- 
ing with my father, and spending no small part of 
the night walking up and down, and trying to 
make out what was the exact meaning of some of 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE 313 

their, to me, dark sayings. I could not sleep, 
though I often tried to, when I got on such a hunt 
after an idea, until I had caught it ; and when I 
thought I had got it, I was not satisfied until I 
had repeated it over and over, until I had put it in 
language plain enough, as I thought, for any boy 
I knew to comprehend. This was a kind of pas- 
sion with me, and it has stuck by me ; for I am 
never easy now, when I am handling a thought, till 
I have bounded it North, and bounded it South, and 
bounded it East, and bounded it West. Perhaps 
that accounts for the characteristic you observe in 
my speeches, though I never put the two things 
together before.' 

11 * Mr. Lincoln, I thank you for this. It is the 
most splendid educational fact I ever happened 
upon. This is genius, with all its impulsive, in- 
spiring, dominating power over the mind of its 
possessor, developed by education into talent, with 
its uniformity, its permanence, and its disciplined 
strength, — always ready, always available, never 
capricious, — the highest possession of the human 
intellect. But, let me ask, did you prepare for 
your profession ? ' 

" ■ Oh, yes ! I " read law," as the phrase is 
that is, I became a lawyer's clerk in Springfield, 
and copied tedious documents, and picked up what 
I could of law in the intervals of other work. But 
your question reminds me of a bit of education I 
had, which I am bound in honesty to mention. In 



314 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

the course of my law-reading, I constantly came 
upon the word demonstrate. I thought at first that 
I understood its meaning, but soon became satisfied 
that I did not. I said to myself, " What do I mean 
when I demonstrate more than when I reason or 
'prove? How does demonstration differ from any 
other proof? " I consulted Webster's Dictionary. 
That told of " certain proof," " proof beyond the 
possibility of doubt ; " but I could form no idea 
what sort of proof that was. I thought a great 
many things were proved beyond a possibility of 
doubt, without recourse to any such extraordinary 
process of reasoning as I understood " demonstra- 
tion " to be. I consulted all the dictionaries and 
books of reference I could find, but with no better 
results. You might as well have defined blue to a 
blind man. At last I said, " Lincoln, you can 
never make a lawyer if you do not understand what 
demonstrate means ; " and I left my situation in 
Springfield, went home to my father's house, and 
stayed there till I could give any proposition in the 
six books of Euclid at sight. I then found out 
what " demonstrate " means, and went back to my 
law-studies.' 

" 1 could not refrain from saying, in my admira- 
tion at such a development of character and genius 
combined : k Mr. Lincoln, your success is no longer 
a marvel. It is the legitimate result of adequate 
causes. You deserve it all, and a great deal more. 
If you will permit me, I w r ould like to use this fact 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 315 

publicly. It will be most valuable in inciting our 
young men to that patient classical and mathemat- 
ical culture which most minds absolutely require. 
No man can talk well unless he is able first of all 
to define to himself what he is talking about. Eu- 
clid, well studied, would free the world of half its 
calamities, by banishing half the nonsense which 
now deludes and curses it. I have often thought 
that Euclid would be one of the best books to put 
on the catalogue of the Tract Society, if they could 
only get people to read it. It would be a means of 
grace.' 

" 4 1 think so,' said he, laughing ; 4 1 vote for 
Euclid.' 

" Just then a gentleman entered the car who was 
well known as a very ardent friend of Douglas. 
Being a little curious to see how Mr. Lincoln would 
meet him, I introduced him after this fashion : — 

1 Mr. Lincoln, allow me to introduce Mr. L , 

a very particular friend of your particular friend, 
Mr. Douglas.' He at once took his hand in a most 
cordial manner, saying: 'I have no doubt you 
think you are right, sir.' This hearty tribute to 
the honesty of a political opponent, with the man- 
ner of doing it, struck me as a beautiful exhibition 
of a large-hearted charity, of which we see far too 
little in this debating, fermenting world. 

44 As we neared the end of our journey, Mr. Lin- 
coln turned to me very pleasantly, and said : ' I 
want to thank you for this conversation. I have 



316 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

enjoyed it very much.' I replied, referring to some 
stalwart denunciations he had just been uttering of 
the demoralizing influences of Washington upon 
Northern politicians in respect to the slavery ques- 
tion, 6 Mr. Lincoln, may I say one thing to you 
before we separate ? ' 

" ' Certainly, anything you please.' 

" c You have just spoken of the tendency of po- 
litical life in Washington to debase the moral con- 
victions of our representatives there by the admixt- 
ure of considerations of mere political expediency. 
You have become, by the controversy wdth Mr. 
Douglas, one of our leaders in this great struggle 
with slavery, which is undoubtedly the struggle of 
the nation and the age. What I would like to say 
is this, and I say it with a full heart, Be true to your 
principles and we will be true to you, and Grod will 
be true to us all!'' His homely face lighted up 
instantly with a beaming expression, and taking my 
hand warmly in both of his, he said : ' I say Amen 
to that — Amen to that ! ' 

" There is a deep excavation in the rock shown 
to visitors, among the White Mountains, into which 
one of the purest of the mountain streams pours 
itself, known as 4 The Pool.' As you stand by its 
side at an ordinary time you look down upon a 
mass of impenetrable green, lying like a rich em- 
erald in a setting of granite upon the bosom of the 
mountain. But occasionally the noon-day sun darts 
through it a vertical ray which penetrates to its 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 317 

veiy bottom, and shows every configuration of the 
varied interior. I felt at that moment that a ray 
had darted down to the bottom of Abraham Lin- 
coln's heart, and that I could see the whole. It 
seemed to me as beautiful as that emerald pool, and 
as pure. I have never forgotten that glimpse. 
When the strange revocation came of the most 
rational and reasonable proclamation of Fremont, — 
c The slaves of Rebels shall be set free,' — I remem- 
bered that hearty 'Amen,' and stifled my rising 
apprehensions. I remembered it in those dark 
days when McClellan, Nero-like, was fiddling on 
James River, and Pope was being routed before 
Washington, and the report came that a prominent 
Cabinet Minister had boasted that he had succeeded 
in preventing the issue of the Emancipation Proc- 
lamation ; I said : ' Abraham Lincoln will prove 
true yet.' And he has ! God bless him ! he has. 
Slow, if you please, but true. Unimpassioned, if 
you please, but true. Jocose, trifling, if you please, 
but true. Reluctant to part w T ith unworthy official 
advisers, but true himself — true as steel! I could 
wish him less a man of facts, and more a man of 
ideas. I could wish him more stern and more vig- 
orous : but every man has his faults, and still I 
say : Amen to Abraham Lincoln ! " * 

* This article was written and first published some months previoui 
to Mr. Lincoln's reelection, during the depression of the public mind 
following the " raid " on Washington. 



318 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Lxxvni. 

The Hon. Orlando Kellogg, of New York, was 
sitting in his room at his boarding-house one even- 
ing, when one of his constituents appeared, — a 
white-headed old man, — who had come to Wash- 
ington in great trouble, to seek the aid of his repre- 
sentative in behalf of his son. His story was this : 
" The young man had formerly been very dissi- 
pated. During an absence from home a year or 
two previous to the war, he enlisted in the regular 
army, and, after serving six months, deserted. Re 
turning to his father, who knew nothing of this, 
he reformed his habits, and when the war broke 
out, entered heart and soul into the object of rais- 
ing a regiment in his native county, and was sub- 
sequently elected one of its officers. He had proved 
an efficient officer, distinguishing himself particu- 
larly on one occasion, in a charge across a bridge, 
when he was severely wounded, — his colonel 
being killed by his side. Shortly after this, he 
came in contact with one of his old companions in 
the 4 regular' service, who recognized him, and 
declared his purpose of informing against him. 
Overwhelmed with mortification, the young man 
procured a furlough and returned home, revealing 
the matter to his father, and declaring his purpose 
never to submit to an arrest, — 6 he would die 
first.' " In broken tones the old man finished his 
statement, saying : " Can you do anything for us, 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 319 

Judge ? — it is a hard, hard case ! " "I will see 
about that," replied the representative, putting on 
his hat ; " wait here until I return." He went 
immediately to the White House, and fortunately 
finding Mr. Lincoln alone, they sat down together, 
and he repeated the old man's story. The Presi* 
dent made no demonstration of particular interest 
until the Judge reached the description of the 
charge across the bridge, and the wound received. 
" Do you say," he interrupted, " that the young 
man was wounded?" "Yes," replied the con- 
gressman, " badly." " Then he has shed his blood 
for his country," responded Mr. Lincoln, musingly. 
" Kellogg," he continued, brightening up, "isn't 
there something in Scripture about the ' shedding 
of blood ' being ' the remission of sins ? ' " " Guess 
you are about right there," replied the Judge. " It 
is a good i point,' and there is no going behind 
it," rejoined the President ; and taking up his pen, 
another " pardon " — this time without " oath," 
condition, or reserve — was added to the records 
of the War Office. 

" Among a large number of persons waiting in 
the room to speak with Mr. Lincoln, on a certain 
day in November, '64, was a small, pale, delicate- 
looking boy about thirteen years old. The Presi- 
dent saw him standing, looking feeble and faint, 
and said : c Come here, my boy, and tell me what 
you want.' The boy advanced, placed his hand on 
the arm of the President's chair, and with bowed 



320 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

head and timid accents said : * Mr. President, 1 
have been a drummer in a regiment for two years, 
and my colonel got angry with me and turned me 
off. I was taken sick, and have been a long time 
in hospital. This is the first time I have been out, 
and I came to see if you could not do something 
for me.' The President looked at him kindly an I 
tenderly, and asked him where he lived. ' I have 
no home,' answered the boy. ' Where is your 
father?' 4 He died in the army,' was the reply. 
* Where is your mother ? ' continued the President. 
6 My mother is dead also. I have no mother, no 
father, no brothers, no sisters, and,' bursting into 
tears, 6 no friends — nobody cares for me.' Mr. 
Lincoln's eyes filled with tears, and he said to him, 
' Can't you sell newspapers ? ' c No,' said the boy, 
i I am too weak ; and the surgeon of the hospital 
told me I must leave, and I have no money, and no 
place to go to.' The scene was wonderfully affect- 
ing. The President drew forth a card, and ad- 
dressing on it certain officials to whom his request 
was law, gave special directions i to care for this 
poor boy.' The wan face of the little drummer lit 
up with a happy smile as he received the paper, 
and he went away convinced that he had one good 
and true friend, at least, in the person of the 
President." * 

No incident of this character related of the late 
President, is more profoundly touching in its ten- 

* Rev. Mr. Henderson, Louisville, Ky. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 321 

derness and simplicity than that given to me the 
last evening I passed at the White House, in the 
office of the private secretary, by a resident of 
Washington,* who witnessed the scene. 

" I was waiting my turn to speak to the Presi- 
dent one day, some three or four weeks since," 
said Mr. M , "when my attention was at- 
tracted by the sad patient face of a woman ad- 
vanced in life, who in a faded hood and shawl 
was among the applicants for an interview. 

" Presently Mr. Lincoln turned to her, saying in 
his accustomed manner, ' Well, my good woman, 
what can I do for you this morning ? ' ' Mr. 
President,' said she, ' my husband and three sons 
all went into the army. My husband was killed in 
the fight at — — . I get along very badly since 
then, living all alone, and I thought I would 
come and ask you to release to me my oldest son.' 
Mr. Lincoln looked into her face a moment, and 
in his kindest accents responded, ' Certainly ! cer- 
tainly ! If you have given us all, and your 
prop has been taken away, you are justly en- 
titled to one of your boys ! ' He immediately 
made out an order discharging the young man, 
which the woman took, and thanking him orate- 
fully, went away. 

u I had forgotten the circumstance," continued 

M , " till last week, when happening to be 

here again, w T ho should come in but the same 

* Mr. Murtagh. of the W <shington Republican, 
21 



322 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

woman. It appeared that she had gone herself to 
the front, with the President's order, and found the 
son she was in search of had been mortally wounded 
in a recent engagement, and taken to a hospital. 
She found the hospital, but the boy was dead, or 
died while she was there. The surgeon in charge 
made a memorandum of the facts upon the back of 
the President's order, and almost broken-hearted, 
the poor woman had found her way again into Mr. 
Lincoln's presence. He was much affected by her 
appearance and story, and said : c I know what you 
wish me to do now, and I shall do it without your 
asking ; I shall release to you your second son.' 
Upon this, he took up his pen and commenced 
writing the order. While he was writing the poor 
woman stood by his side, the tears running down 
her face, and passed her hand softly over his head, 
stroking his rough hair, as I have seen a fond mother 
caress a son. By the time he had finished writing, 
his own heart and eyes were full. He handed her 
the paper : ; Now,' said he, 6 you have one and /one 
of the other two left : that is no more than right.' 
She took the paper, and reverently placing her hand 
again upon his head, the tears still upon her cheeks, 
said : ' The Lord bless you, Mr. Lincoln. May you 
live a thousand years, and may you always be the 
head of this great nation ! ' " 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 323 

LXXIX. 

The Hon. W. H. Herndon, of Springfield, Illi- 
nois, for more than twenty years the law-partner of 
Mr. Lincoln, delivered an address in that city, De- 
cember 12th, 1865, upon the life and character of 
the lamented President, which, for masterly analy- 
sis, has scarcely an equal in the annals of biograph- 
ical literature. Quaint and original in style and 
construction, this description — an imperfect ab- 
stract of which I subjoin — is in singular harmony 
with the character it depicts. To those who knew 
Mr. Lincoln personally, so thorough a dissection of 
his nature and traits will need no indorsement ; 
while to the multitude who knew him not, it may 
be commended as probably more complete and ex- 
haustive in its treatment of the subject, than any- 
thing which has been given to the world. 

" Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County, 
Kentucky, February 12th, 1809. He moved to 
Indiana in 1816 ; came to Illinois in March, 1830 ; 
to old Sangamon County in 1831, settling in New 
Salem, and from this last place to this city in April, 
1837 : coming as a rude, uncultivated boy, without 
polish or education, and having no friends. He 
was about six feet four inches high, and when he 
left this city was fifty-one years old, having good 
health and no gray hairs, or but few on his head. 
He was thin, wiry, sinewy, raw-boned ; thin through 
the breast to the back, and narrow across the shoul- 



324 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

ders ; standing, he leaned forward — was what may 
be called stoop-shouldered, inclining to the consump- 
tive by build. His usual weight was one hundred 
and sixty pounds. His organization — rather his 
structure and functions — worked slowly. His blood 
had to run a long distance from his heart to the ex- 
tremities of his frame, and his nerve-force had to 
travel through dry ground a long distance before his 
muscles were obedient to his will. His structure 
was loose and leathery ; his body was shrunk and 
shrivelled, having dark skin, dark hair, — looking 
woe-struck. The whole man, body and mind, 
wwked slowly, creakingly, as if it needed oiling. 
Physically, he was a very powerful man, lifting 
with ease four hundred or six hundred pounds. His 
mind was like his body, and worked slowly but 
strongly. When he walked, he moved cautiously 
but firmly, his long arms and hands on them, hang- 
ing like giant's hands, swung down by his side. He 
walked with even tread, the inner sides of his feet 
being parallel. He put the whole foot flat down on 
the ground at once, not landing on the heel ; he like- 
wise lifted his foot all at once, not rising from the 
toe, and hence he had no spring to his walk. He 
had economy of fall and lift of foot, though he had 
no spring or apparent ease of motion in his tread. 
He walked undulatory, up and down, catching and 
pocketing tire, weariness, and pain, all up and down 
his person, preventing them from locating. The 
first opinion of a stranger, or a man who did not 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 325 

observe closely, was that his walk implied shrewd- 
ness, cunning, — a tricky man ; but his was the 
walk of caution and firmness. In sitting down on 
a common chair he was no taller than ordinary men. 
His legs and arms were, abnormally, unnaturally 
long, and in undue proportion to the balance of his 
body. It was only when he stood up that he loomed 
above other men. 

" Mr. Lincoln's head was long and tall from the 
base of the brain and from the eyebrows. His 
head ran backwards, his forehead rising as it ran 
back at a low angle, like Clay's, and, unlike Web- 
ster's, almost perpendicular. The size of his hat, 
measured at the hatter's block, was 7|, his head 
being, from ear to ear, 6J inches, and from the front 
to the back of the brain 8 inches. Thus measured, 
it was not below the medium size. His forehead 
was narrow but high ; his hair was dark, almost 
black, and lay floating where his fingers or the 
winds left it, piled up at random. His cheek-bones 
were high, sharp, and prominent ; his eyebrow^ 
heavy and prominent ; his jaws were long, up- 
curved, and heavy ; his nose was large, long, and 
blunt, a little awry towards the right eye ; his 
chin was long, sharp, and upcurved ; his eyebrows 
cropped out like a huge rock on the brow of a hill ; 
his face was long, sallow, and cadaverous, shrunk, 
shrivelled, wrinkled, and dry, having here and there 
a hair on the surface ; his cheeks were leathery ; 
his ears were large, and ran out almost at right an* 



326 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

gles from his head, caused partly by heavy hats and 
partly by nature ; his lower lip was thick, hanging, 
and undercurved, while his chin reached for the lip 
upcurved ; his neck was neat and trim, his head 
being well balanced on it ; there was the lone mole 
on the right cheek, and Adam's apple on his throat. 

" Thus stood, walked, acted, and looked Abraham 
Lincoln. He was not a pretty man by any means, 
nor was he an ugly one ; he was a homely man, 
careless of his looks, plain-looking and plain-acting. 
He had no pomp, display, or dignity, so-called. He 
appeared simple in his carriage and bearing. He 
was a sad-looking man ; his melancholy dripped 
from him as he walked. His apparent gloom im- 
pressed his friends, and created a sympathy for him, 
— one means of his great success. He was gloomy, 
abstracted, and joyous, — rather humorous, — by 
turns. I do not think he knew what real joy was 
for many years. 

" Mr. Lincoln sometimes walked our streets 
cheerily, — good - humoredly, perhaps joyously, — 
and then it was, on meeting a friend, he cried ' How 
d' y ? ' clasping one of his friend's hands in both of 
his, giving a good hearty soul-welcome. Of a win- 
ter's morning, he might be seen stalking and stilt- 
ing it towards the market-house, basket on arm, his 
old gray shawl wrapped around his neck, his little 
Willie or Tad running along at his heels, asking a 
thousand little quick questions, which his father 
heard not, not even then knowing that little Willie 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 327 

or Tad was tliere, so abstracted was he. When he 
thus met a friend, he said that something put him 
in mind of a story which he heard in Indiana or 
elsewhere, and tell it he would, and there was no 
alternative but to listen. 

" Thus, I say, stood and walked and looked this 
singular man. He was odd, but when that gray 
eye and face and every feature were lit up by the 
inward soul in fires of emotion, then it was that all 
these apparently ugly features sprang into organs 
of beauty, or sunk themselves into a sea of inspira- 
tion that sometimes flooded his face. Sometimes it 
appeared to me that Lincoln's soul was just fresh 
from the presence of its Creator. 

" I have asked the friends 'and foes of Mr. Lin- 
coln alike, what they thought of his perceptions. 
One gentleman of undoubted ability and free from 
all partiality or prejudice, said, ' Mr. Lincoln's per- 
ceptions are slow, a little perverted, if not some- 
what distorted and diseased.' If the meaning of 
this is that Mr. Lincoln saw things from a peculiar 
angle of his being, and from this was susceptible to 
Nature's impulses, and that he so expressed him- 
self, then I have no objection to what is said. Other- 
wise, I dissent. Mr. Lincoln's perceptions were 
slow, cold, precise, and exact. Everything came to 
him in its precise shape and color. To some men 
the world of matter and of man comes ornamented 
with beauty, life, and action, and hence more or less 



328 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

false and inexact. No lurking illusion or other 
error, false in itself, and clad for the moment in 
robes of splendor, ever passed undetected or un- 
challenged over the threshold of his mind, — that 
point that divides vision from the realm and home 
of thought. Names to him were nothing, and titles 
naught, — assumption always standing back abashed 
at his cold, intellectual glare. Neither his percep- 
tions nor intellectual vision were perverted, distorted, 
or diseased. He saw all things through a perfect 
mental lens. There was no diffraction or refraction 
there. He was not impulsive, fanciful, or imagina- 
tive, but cold, calm, precise, and exact. He threw 
his whole mental light around the object, and in 
time, substance, and quality stood apart ; form and 
color took their appropriate places, and all was clear 
and exact in his mind. His fault, if anv, was that 
he saw things less than they really were ; less beau- 
tiful and more frigid. In his mental view he crushed 
the unreal, the inexact, the hollow, and the sham. 
He saw things in rigidity rather than in vital action. 
Here was his fault. He saw what no man could 
dispute ; but he failed to see what might have been 
seen. To some minds the world is all life, a soul 
beneath the material ; but to Mr. Lincoln no life 
was individual or universal that did not manifest it- 
self to him. His mind was his standard. His per- 
ceptions were cool, persistent, pitiless in pursuit of 
the truth. No error went undetected, and no false- 
hood unexposed, if he once was aroused i:i search 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 329 

of truth. If his perceptions were perverted, dis- 
torted, and diseased, would to Heaven that more 
minds were so. 

" The true peculiarity of Mr. Lincoln has not been 
seen by his various biographers ; or, if seen, they 
have failed wofully to give it that prominence which 
it deserves. It is said that Newton saw an apple 
fall to the ground from a tree, and beheld the law 
of the universe in that fall ; Shakspeare saw human 
nature in the laugh of a man; Professor Owen saw 
the animal in its claw ; and Spencer saw the evolu- 
tion of the universe in the growth of a seed. Na- 
ture was suggestive to all these men. Mr. Lincoln 
no less saw philosophy in a story, and a schoolmas- 
ter in a joke. No man, no men, saw nature, fact, 
thing, or man from his stand-point. His was a new 
and original position, which was always suggesting, 
hinting something to him. Nature, insinuations, 
hints, and suggestions were new, fresh, original, and 
odd to him. The world, fact, man, principle, all 
had their powers of suggestion to his susceptible 
soul. They continually put him in mind of some- 
thing. He was odd, fresh, new, original, and pe- 
culiar for this reason, that he was a new, odd, and 
original creation and fact. He had keen suscepti- 
bilities to the hints and suggestions of nature, which 
always put him in mind of something known or 
anknown. Hence his power and tenacity ot what 
is called association of ideas must have been great. 



330 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

His memory was tenacious and strong. His sus- 
ceptibility to all suggestions and hints enabled him 
at will to call up readily the associated and classified 
fact and idea. 

"As an evidence of this, especially peculiar to Mr. 
Lincoln, let me ask one question. Were Mr. Lin- 
coln's expression and language odd and original, 
standing out peculiar from those of all other men ? 
What does this imply ? Oddity and originality of 
vision as well as expression ; and what is expression 
in words and human language, but a telling of what 
we see, defining the idea arising from and created 
by vision and view in us. Words and language 
are but the counterparts of the idea, — the other 
half of the idea ; they are but the stinging, hot, 
heavy, leaden bullets that drop from the mould ; 
and what are they in a rifle with powder stuffed 
behind them and fire applied, but an embodied force 
pursuing their object. So are words an embodied 
power feeling for comprehension in other minds. 
Mr. Lincoln was often perplexed to give expression 
to his ideas : first, because he was not master of 
the English language ; and, secondly, because there 
were no words in it containing the coloring, shape, 
exactness, power, and gravity of his ideas. He 
was frequently at a loss for a word, and hence was 
compelled to resort to stories, maxims, and jokes to 
embody his idea, that it might be comprehended. 
So true w T as this peculiar mental vision of his, that 
though mankind has been gathering, arranging, and 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 381 

classifying facts for thousands of years, Lincoln's 
peculiar stand-point could give him no advantage 
of other men's labor. Hence he tore up to the 
deep foundations all arrangements of facts, and 
coined and arranged new plans to govern himself. 
He was compelled, from his peculiar mental organi- 
zation, to do this. His labor was great, continuous, 
patient, and all-enduring. 

" The truth about this whole matter is that Mr. 
Lincoln read less and thought more than any man 
in his sphere in America. No man can put his 
finger on any great book written in the last or pres- 
ent century that he read. When young he read 
the Bible, and when of age he read Shakspeare. 
This latter book was scarcely ever out of his mind. 
Mr. Lincoln is acknowledged to have been a great 
man, but the question is what made him great. I 
repeat, that he read less and thought more than any 
man of his standing in America, if not in the world. 
He possessed originality and power of thought in 
an eminent degree. He was cautious, cool, con- 
centrated, with continuity of reflection ; was patient 
and enduring. These are some of the grounds of 
his wonderful success. 

" Not only was nature, man, fact, and principle 
suggestive to Mr. Lincoln^ not only had he accurate 
and exact perceptions, but he was causative, L e., 
his mind ran back behind all facts, things, and prin- 
ciples to their origin, history, and first cause, — tc 
that point where forces act at once as effect and 



332 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

cause. He would stop and stand in the street and 
analyze a machine. He would whittle things to 
a point, and then count the numberless inclined 
planes, and their pitch, making the point. Mas- 
tering and defining this, he would then cut that 
point back, and get a broad transverse section of 
his pine stick, and peel and define that. Clocks, 
omnibuses, and language, paddle-wheels, and idioms, 
never escaped his observation and analysis. Before 
he could form any idea of anything, before he would 
express his opinion on any subject, he must know 
it in origin and history, in substance and quality, in 
magnitude and gravity. He must know his subject 
inside and outside, upside and downside. He 
searched his own mind and nature thoroughly, as I 
have often heard him say. He must analyze a sen- 
sation, an idea, and words, and run them back to 
their origin, history, purpose, and destiny. He was 
most emphatically a remorseless analyzer of facts, 
things, and principles. When all these processes 
had been well and thoroughly gone through, he 
could form an opinion and express it, but no sooner. 
He had no faith. ; Say so's ' he had no respect for, 
coming though they might from tradition, power, or 
authority. 

" All things, facts, and principles had to run 
through his crucible and be tested by the fires of his 
analytic mind ; and hence, when he did speak his 
utterances rang out gold-like, quick, keen, and cur- 
rent upon the counters of the understanding, H6 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 333 

reasoned logically, through analogy and comparison. 
All opponents dreaded him in his originality of idea, 
condensation, definition, and force of expression, and 
woe be to the man who hugged to his bosom a 
secret error if Mr. Lincoln got on the chase of it. 
I say, woe to him ! Time could hide the error in 
no nook or corner of space in which he would not 
detect and expose it. 

" Though Mr. Lincoln had accurate perceptions, 
though nature \v r as extremely suggestive to him, 
though he was a profound thinker as well as ana- 
lyzer, still his judgments and opinions formed upon 
minor matters were often childish. I have some- 
times asked prominent, talented, and honest men 
in this and other States for their manly opinion of 
Mr. Lincoln's judgments. I did this to confirm or 
overthrow my own opinions on this point. Their 
answers were that his judgments were poor. But 
now what do we understand by the w 7 ord 'judg- 
ments ? ' It is not reason, it is not will, nor is it 
understanding ; but it is the judging faculty, — that 
capacity or power that forms opinions and decides 
on the fitness, beauty, harmony, and appropriateness 
of things under all circumstances and surroundings, 
quickly, wisely, accurately. Had Mr. Lincoln this 
quality of mind ? I think not. His mind was like 
nis body, and worked slowly. 

" One portion of mankind maintained that Mr, 



334 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

Lincoln was weak-minded, and they look at him 
only from the stand-point of his judgments. An- 
other class maintain that he was a great, deep, pro- 
found man in his judgments. Do these two classes 
understand themselves? Both views cannot be 
correct. Mr. Lincoln's mind was slow, angular, and 
ponderous, rather than quick and finely discriminat- 
ing, and in time his great powers of reason on cause 
and effect, on creation and relation, on substance 
and on truth, would form a proposition, an opinion 
wisely and well, — that no human being can deny. 
When his mind could not grasp premises from 
which to argue he was weaker than a child, be- 
cause he had none of the child's intuitions, — the 
soul's quick, bright flash over scattered and unar- 
ranged facts. 

" Mr. Lincoln was a peculiar man, having a pe- 
culiar mind ; he was gifted with a peculiarity, 
namely, a new lookout on nature. Everything had 
to be newly created for him, — facts newly gath- 
ered, newly arranged, and newly classed. He had 
no faith, as already expressed. In order to believe 
he must see and feel, and thrust his hand into the 
place. He must taste, smell, and handle before he 
had faith, i. e., belief. Such a mind as this must 
act slowly, — must have its time. His forte and 
pcwer lay in his love of digging out for himself and 
hunting up for his own mind its own food, to be 
assimilated unto itself; and then in time he could 
and would form opinions and conclusions that no 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 335 

human power could overthrow. They were as 
irresistible as iron thunder, as powerful as logic 
embodied in mathematics. 

" I have watched men closely in reference to 
their approaches to Mr. Lincoln. Those who ap- 
proached him on his judgment side treated him ten- 
derly — sometimes respectfully, but always as a 
weak-minded man. This class of men take the 
judgment as the standard of the mind. I have 
seen another class approach him on his reason-side, 
and they always crouched low down and truckled, 
as much as to say, 'great,' 'grand,' 'omnipotent.' 
Both these classes were correct. One took judgment 
as the standard of the man, and the other took rea- 
son. Yet both classes were wrong in this, — they 
sunk out of view one side of Mr. Lincoln. A third 
class knew him well, and always treated him with 
human respect : not that awe and reverence with 
which we regard the Supreme Being ; not that 
supercilious haughtiness which greatness shows to 
littleness. Each will please to examine itself, and 
then judge of what I say. I have approached Mr. 
Lincoln on all sides, and treated him according to 
the angle approached. 

*° An additional question naturally suggests itself 
here, and it is this : Had Mr. Lincoln great, good 
common sense ? Different persons, of equal capac- 
ity and honesty, hold different views on this ques- 
tion, — one class answering in the affirmative, and 
the other in the negative. 



B36 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

These various opinions necessarily spring out of 
the question just discussed. If the true test is that 
a man shall quickly, wisely, and well judge the rapid 
rush and whirl of human transactions, as accurately 
as though indefinite time and proper conditions were 
at his disposal, then I am compelled to follow the 
logic of things, and say that Mr. Lincoln had do 
more than ordinary common sense. The world, 
men and their actions, must be judged as they rush 
and pass along. They will not wait on us ; will not 
stay for our logic and analysis ; they must be seized 
as thev run. We all our life act on the moment. 
Mr. Lincoln knew himself, and never trusted his 
dollar or his fame on his casual opinions ; he never 
acted hastily on great matters. 

• •••••••• 

" Mr. Lincoln very well knew that the great lead- 
ing law of human nature was motive. He reasoned 
all ideas of a disinterested action from my mind. I 
used to hold that an action could be pure, disinter- 
ested, and holy, free from all selfishness, but he di- 
vested me of that delusion. His idea was that all 
human actions were caused by motives, and that at 
the bottom of those motives was self. He defied me 
to act without a motive and unselfishly ; and when 
I did the act and told him of it, he analyzed and 
sifted it, and demonstrated beyond the possibility of 
controversv that it was altogether selfish. Though 
he was a profound analyzer of the laws of human 
nature, still he had no idea of the peculiar motives 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 337 

of the particular individual. He could not well 
discriminate in human nature. He knew but little 
of the play of the features as seen in ' the human 
face divine.' He could not distinguish between the 
paleness of anger and the crimson tint of modesty. 
He could not determine what each play of the feat- 
ures indicated. . 

• •••••••• 

" The great predominating elements of Mr. Lin- 
coln's peculiar character, were : First, his great ca- 
pacity and power of reason; secondly, his excellent 
understanding ; thirdly, an exalted idea of the sense 
of right and equity ; and, fourthly, his intense ven- 
eration of what was true and good* His reason 
ruled despotically all other faculties and qualities of 
his mind. His conscience and heart were ruled 
by it. His conscience was ruled by one faculty — 
reason. His heart was ruled by two faculties — 
reason and conscience. I know it is generally 
believed that Mr. Lincoln's heart, his love and 
kindness, his tenderness and benevolence, were his 
ruling qualities ; but this opinion is erroneous in 
every particular. First, as to his reason. He dwelt 
in the mind, not in the conscience, and not in the 
heart. He lived and breathed and acted from 
his reason, — the throne of logic and the home of 
principle, the realm of Deity in man. It is from 
this point that Mr. Lincoln must be viewed. His 
views were correct and original. He was cautious 
not to be deceived ; he was patient and endur- 
22 



338 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

ing. He had concentration and great continuity of 
thought ; he had a profound analytic power ; his 
visions were clear, and he was emphatically the mas- 
ter of statement. His pursuit of the truth was in- 
defatigable, terrible. He reasoned from his well- 
chosen principles with such clearness, force, and 
compactness, that the tallest intellects in the land 
bowed to him with respect. He was the strongest 
man I ever saw, looking at him from the stand-point 
of his reason, — the throne of his logic. He came 
down from that height with an irresistible and crush- 
ing force. His printed speeches will prove this ; but 
his speeches before courts, especially before the Su- 
preme Courts of the State and Nation, would de- 
monstrate it : unfortunately none of them have been 
preserved. Here he demanded time to think and 
prepare. The office of reason is to determine the 
truth. Truth is the power of reason — the child 
of reason. He loved and idolized truth for its own 
sake. It was reason's food. 

" Conscience, the second great quality and forte 
of Mr. Lincoln's character, is that faculty which 
loves the just : its office is justice ; right and equity 
are its correlatives. It decides upon all acts of all 
people at all times. Mr. Lincoln had a deep, broad, 
living conscience. His great reason told him what 
was true, good, and bad, right, wrong, just or un- 
just, and his conscience echoed back its decision ; 
and it was from this point that he acted and spoke 
and wove his character and fame among us. His 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 339 

conscience ruled his heart ; he was always just be- 
fore he was gracious. This was his motto, his glory : 
and this is as it should be. It cannot be truthfully 
said of any mortal man that he was always just. 
Mr. Lincoln was not always just ; but his great gen- 
eral life was. It follows that if Mr. Lincoln had 
great reason and great conscience, he was an hon- 
est man. His great and general life was honest, 
and he was justly and rightfully entitled to the ap- 
pellation, * Honest Abe.' Honesty was his great 
polar star. 

" Mr. Lincoln had also a good understanding ; 
that is, the faculty that understands and compre- 
hends the exact state of things, their near and re- 
mote relation. The understanding does not neces- 
sarily inquire for the reason of things. I must here 
repeat that Mr. Lincoln was an odd and original 
man ; he lived by himself and out of himself. He 
could not absorb. He was a very sensitive man, 
unobtrusive and gentlemanly, and often hid himself 
in the common mass of men, in order to prevent 
the discovery of his individuality. He had no in- 
sulting egotism, and no pompous pride ; no haughti- 
ness, and no aristocracy. He was not indifferent, 
however, to approbation and public opinion. He 
was not an upstart, and had no insolence. He 
was a meek, quiet, unobtrusive gentleman. These 
qualities of his nature merged somewhat his iden- 
tities. Read Mr. Lincoln's speeches, letters, mes- 
sages, and proclamations, read his whole record in 



340 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

his actual life, and you cannot fail to perceive that 
he had good understanding. He understood and 
fully comprehended himself, and what he did and 
why he did it, better than most living men. 

• •••••••• 

" There are contradictory opinions in reference to 
Mr. Lincoln's heart and humanity. One opinion is 
that he was cold and obdurate, and the other opin- 
ion is that he was warm and affectionate. I have 
shown you that Mr. Lincoln first lived and breathed 
upon the world from his head and conscience. I have 
attempted to show you that he lived and breathed 
upon the world through the tender side of his heart, 
subject at all times and places to the logic of his 
reason, and to his exalted sense of right and equity, 
namely, his conscience. He always held his con- 
science subject to his head ; he held his heart always 
subject to his head and conscience. His heart was 
the lowest organ, the weakest of the three. Some 
men would reverse this order, and declare that his 
heart was his ruling organ ; that always manifested 
itself with love, regardless of truth and justice, 
right and equity. The question still is, was Mr. 
Lincoln a cold, heartless man, or a warm, affection- 
ate man ? Can a man be a warm-hearted man who 
is all head and conscience, or nearly so ? What, in 
the first place, do we mean by a warm-hearted man ? 
Is it one who goes out of himself and reaches for 
others spontaneously, because of a deep love of hu- 
manity, apart from equity and truth, and does what 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 341 

it does for love's sake ? If so, Mr. Lincoln was a 
cold man. Or, do we mean that when a human 
being, man or child, approached him in behalf 
of a matter of right, and that the prayer of such 
an one was granted, that this is an evidence of 
his love? The African was enslaved, his rights 
were violated, and a principle was violated in them. 
Rights imply obligations as well as duties. Mr. 
Lincoln was President; he was in a position that 
made it his duty through his sense of right, his 
love of principle, his constitutional obligations im- 
posed upon him by oath of office, to strike the blow 
against slavery. But did he do it for love ? He 
himself has answered the question : ' I would not 
free the slaves if I could preserve the Union with- 
out it.' I use this argument against his too enthu- 
siastic friends. If you mean that this is love for 
love's sake, then Mr. Lincoln was a warm-hearted 
man — not otherwise. To use a general expres- 
sion, his general life was cold. He had, however, 
a strong latent capacity to love ; but the object must 
first come as principle, second as right, and third as 
lovely. He loved abstract humanity when it was 
oppressed. This was an abstract love, not concrete 
in the individual, as said by some. He rarely used 
the term love, yet was he tender and gentle. He 
gave the key-note to his own character, when he 
said, ' with malice toward none, and with charity for 
all,' he did what he did. He had no intense loves, 
and hence no hates and no malice. He had a broad 



342 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

charity for imperfect man, and let us imitate his 
great life in this. 

" ' But was not Mr. Lincoln a man of great 
humanity ? ' asks a friend at my elbow, a little 
angrily ; to which I reply, ' Has not that question 
been answered already ? ' Let us suppose that it 
has not. We must understand each other. What 
do you mean by humanity ? Do you mean that he 
had much of human nature in him ? If so, I will 
grant that he was a man of humanity. Do you 
mean, if the above definition is unsatisfactory, that 
Mr. Lincoln was tender and kind ? Then I agree 
with you. But if you mean to say that he so loved 
a man that he would sacrifice truth and right for 
him, for love's sake, then he was not a man of 
humanity. Do you mean to say that he so loved 
man, for love's sake, that his heart led him out of 
himself, and compelled him to go in search of the 
objects of his love, for their sake ? He never, to 
my knowledge, manifested this side of his character. 
Such is the law of human nature, that it cannot be 
all head, all conscience, and all heart at one and the 
same time in one and the same person. Our Maker 
made it so, and where God through reason blazed 
the path, walk therein boldly. Mr. Lincoln's glory 
and power lay in the just combination of head, 
conscience, and heart, and it is here that his fame 
must rest, or not at all. 

" Not only were Mr. Lincoln's perceptions good ; 
not only was nature suggestive to him; not only 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 343 

was he original and strong ; not only had he great 
reason, good understanding; not only did he love 
the true and good — the eternal right ; not only was 
he tender and kind, — but, in due proportion and 
in legitimate subordination, had he a glorious com- 
bination of them all. Through his perceptions, — 
the suggestiveness of nature, his originality and 
strength ; through his magnificent reason, his un- 
derstanding, his conscience, his tenderness, and 
kindness, his heart, rather than love, — he approx- 
imated as nearly as most human beings in this 
imperfect state to an embodiment of the great moral 
principle, 4 Do unto others as ye would they should 
do unto you.' 

• ••••••• 

" There are two opinions — radically different opin- 
ions — expressed about Mr. Lincoln's will, by men 
of equal and much capacity. One opinion is, that 
he had no will ; and the other is, that he was all will 
— omnipotently so. These two opinions are loudly 
and honestly affirmed. Mr. Lincoln's mind loved 
the true, the right, and good, all the great truths 
and principles in the mind of man. He loved the 
true, first ; the right, second ; and the good, the 
least. His mind struggled for truths and his soul 
for substances. Neither in his head nor in his soul 
did he care for forms, methods, ways, — the wow- 
substantial facts or things. He could not, by his 
very structure and formation in mind and tody, 
care anything about them. He did not intensely 



344 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

or much care for particular individual man, — the 
dollar, property, rank, order, manners, or such like 
things. He had no avarice in his nature, or other 
like vice. He despised, somewhat, all technical 
rules in law and theology and other sciences, — 
mere forms everywhere, — because they were, as 
a general rule, founded on arbitrary thoughts and 
ideas, and not on reason, truth, right, and the good. 
These things were without substance, and he disre- 
garded them because they cramped his original na- 
ture. What suited a little, narrow, critical mind 
did not suit Mr. Lincoln's, any more than a child's 
clothes did his body. Generally, Mr. Lincoln could 
not take any interest in little local elections — town 
meetings. He attended no gatherings that per- 
tained to local or other such interests, saving gen- 
eral political ones. He did not care (because he 
could not, in his nature) who succeeded to the pres- 
idency of this or that Christian Association or Rail- 
road Convention ; who made the most money ; who 
was going to Philadelphia, when and for what, and 
what were the costs of such a trip. He could not 
care who, among friends, got this office or that — 
who got to be street inspector or alley commis- 
sioner. No principle of goodness, of truth, or right 
was here. How could he be moved by such things 
as these? He could not understand w T hy men 
struggled for such things. He made this remark to 
me one day, I think at Washington, ' If ever this 
free people — if this Government itself is ever 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 345 

utterly demoralized, it will come from this human 
wriggle and struggle for office — a way to live with- 
out work ; from which nature I am not free myself.' 
It puzzled him a good deal, at Washington, to know 
and to get at the root of this dread desire, — this 
contagious disease of national robbery in the nation's 
death-struggle. 

" Because Mr. Lincoln could not feel any interest 
in such little things as I have spoken of, nor feel 
any particular interest in the success of those who 
were thus struggling and wriggling, he was called 
indifferent — nay, ungrateful — to his friends. Es- 
pecially is this the case with men who have aided 
Mr. Lincoln all their life. Mr. Lincoln always and 
everywhere wished his friends well ; he loved his 
friends and clung to them tenaciously, like iron to 
iron welded ; yet he could not be actively and 
energetically aroused to the true sense of his friends' 
particularly strong feelings of anxiety for office. 
From this fact Mr. Lincoln has been called un- 
grateful. He was not an ungrateful man by any 
means. He may have been a cool man — a passive 
man in his general life ; yet he was not ungrateful. 
Ingratitude is too positive a word — it does not con- 
vey the truth. Mr. Lincoln may not have measured 
his friendly duties by the applicant's hot desire ; I 
admit this. He was not a selfish man, — if by self- 
ishness is meant that Mr. Lincoln would do any 
act, even to promote himself to the Presidency, if 
by that act any human being was wronged. If it 



346 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

is said that Abraham Lincoln preferred Abraham 
Lincoln to any one else, in the pursuit of his ambi- 
tions, and that, because of this, he was a selfish 
man, then I can see no objections to such an idea, 
for this is universal human nature. 

" It must be remembered that Mr. Lincoln's mind 
acted logically, cautiously, and slowly. Now, having 
stated the above facts, the question of his will and its 
power is easily solved. Be it remembered that Mr. 
Lincoln cared nothing for simple facts, manners, 
modes, ways, and such like things. Be it remem- 
bered that he did care for truth, right, for princi- 
ple, for all that pertains to the good. In relation to 
simple facts, unrelated to substance, forms, rules, 
methods, ways, manners, he cared nothing ; and if 
he could be aroused, he would do anything for any 
body at any time, as well foe as friend. As a politi- 
cian he would courteously grant all facts and forms 
— all non-essential things — to his opponent. He 
did so because he did not care for them ; they were 
rubbish, husks, trash. On the question of substance, 
he hung and clung with all his might. On ques- 
tions of truth, justice, right, the good, on principle 
his will was as firm as steel and as tenacious as iron. 
It was as firm, solid, real, vital, and tenacious as an 
idea on which the world hinges or hangs. Ask Mr. 
Lincoln to do a wrong thing, and he would scorn 
the request ; ask him to do an unjust thing, and 
he would cry, c Begone ! ■ ask him to sacrifice his 
convictions of the truth, and his soul would in- 
dignantly exclaim, * The world perish first ! ' 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 847 

" Such was Mr. Lincoln's will. On manners and 
such like things, he was pliable. On questions of 
right and substance, he was as firm as a rock. One 
of these classes of men look at Mr. Lincoln from 
the stand-point of things non-essential, and the other 
looks at him from the stand-point of substance, re- 
jecting forms. Hence the difference. Mr. Lin- 
coln was a man of firm, unyielding will, when, in 
human transactions, it was necessary to be so, and 
not otherwise. At one moment Mr. Lincoln was 
as pliable and expansive as gentle air, and at the 
next moment he was as biting, firm, tenacious, and 
unyielding as gravity itself. 

"Thus I have traced Mr. Lincoln through his 
perceptions, his suggestiveness, his judgments, and 
his four great predominant qualities, namely, — his 
powers of reason, his great understanding, his con- 
science, and his heart. I assert that Mr. Lincoln 
lived in the head. He loved the truth ; he loved 
the eternal right and the good, — never yielding the 
fundamental conceptions of these to any man for 
any end. 

" All the follies and wrong Mr. Lincoln ever fell 
into, or committed, sprang or came out of his weak 
points, namely, his want of quick, sagacious, intu- 
itive judgment, — his want of quick, sagacious, in- 
tuitive knowledge of the play and meaning of the 
features of men as written on the face, — his tender- 
ness and mercy, and, lastly, his utterly unsuspecting 
nature. He was deeply and seriously honest him- 



348 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

self, and assumed that others were so organized 
He never suspected men. These, with other de- 
fects of his nature, caused all his follies and wrongs, 
if he ever had any of either. 

" All the wise and good things Mr. Lincoln ever 
did, sprang or came out of his great reason, his con- 
science, his understanding, and his heart, his love 
of truth, right, and the good. I am speaking now 
of his particular and individual faculties and quali- 
ties, not their combination, nor the result of wise or 
unwise combinations. Each man and woman must 
form his or her ow T n estimate of the man in the 
mind. Run out these facts, qualities, and faculties, 
and see what they must produce. For instance, a 
tender heart ; a wise, strong reason ; a good under- 
standing, an exalted conscience, a love of the good, 
must, in such combination, practically applied, pro- 
duce a man of great humanity. 

u Take another illustration in the combination of 
his faculties and qualities. Mr. Lincoln's eloquence 
lay, 1st, in the strength of his logical faculty, his 
supreme power of reasoning, his great understand- 
ing, and his love of principle ; 2d, in his clear, ex- 
act, and very accurate vision ; 3d, in his cool and 
masterly statement of his principles, around which 
the issues gather ; in the statement of those issues, 
and the grouping of the facts that are to carry con- 
viction, aided by his logic, to the minds of men of 
every grade of intelligence. He was so clear that 
he could not be misunderstood nor misrepresented. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 349 

He stood square and bolt upright to his convictions, 
and formed by them his thoughts and utterances. 
Mr. Lincoln's mind was not a wide, deep, broad, 
generalizing, and comprehensive mind, nor versatile 
quick, bounding here and there, as emergencies 
demanded it. His mind was deep, enduring, and 
strong, running in deep iron grooves, with flanges 
on its wheels. His mind was not keen, sharp, and 
subtile ; it was deep, exact, and strong. 

" Whatever of life, vigor, force, and power of 
eloquence the whole of the above qualities, or a 
wise combination will give ; whatever there is in 
a fair, manly, honest, and impartial administration 
of justice, under law, to all men at all times, — 
through these qualities and capabilities given, never 
deviating ; whatever there is in a strong will in 
the right, governed by tenderness and mercy; 
whatever there is in toil and a sublime patience ; 
whatever there is in particular faculties, or a wise 
combination of them, — not forgetting his weak 
points, — working wisely, sagaciously, and honestly, 
openly and fairly ; — I say, whatever there is in 
these, or a combination of them, that Mr. Lin- 
coln is justly entitled to in all the walks of life. 
These limit, bound, and define him as statesman, 
oracor, as an executive of the nation, as a man of 
humanity, a good man, and a gentleman. These 
limit, bound, and define him every way, in all the 
ways and walks of life. He is under his law and 
his nature, and he never can get out of it. 



350 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 



" This man, this long, bony, wiry, sad man, 
floated into our county in 1831, in a frail canoe, 
down the north fork of the Sangamon River, friend- 
less, pennyless, powerless, and alone, — begging for 
work in this city, — ragged, struggling for the com- 
mon necessaries of life. This man, this peculiar 
man, left us in 1861, the President of the United 
States, backed by friends and power, by fame, and 
all human force ; and it is well to inquire how. 

" To sum up, let us say, here is a sensitive, diffi- 
dent, unobtrusive, natural-made gentleman. His 
mind was strong and deep, sincere and honest, pa- 
tient and enduring ; having no vices, and having 
only negative defects, with many positive virtues. 
His is a strong, honest, sagacious, manly, noble life. 
He stands in the foremost rank of men in all ages, 
— their equal, — one of the best types of this Chris- 
tian civilization." 

LXXX. 

At the end of six months' incessant labor, my task 
at the White House drew near completion. On the 
22d of July, the President and Cabinet, at the close 
of the regular session, adjourned in a body to the 
State Dining-room, to view the work, at last in a 
condition to receive criticism. Sitting in the midst 
of the group, the President expressed his "un- 
schooled " opinion, as he called it, of the result, in 
terms which could not but have afforded the deep- 
est gratification to any artist. 



SIX MONTHS AT THE" WHITE HOUSE. 351 

The curiosity of the public to see the picture was 
so great that during the last two days of my stay in 
Washington, by the kind permission of the Presi- 
dent, it was placed in the East Room, and thrown 
open to the public. During this time the house was 
thronged with visitors, the porters estimating their 
number each day at several thousands. 

Towards the close of the second day's exhibition, 
intending to have the canvas taken down and rolled 
up during the night for transportation to New York, 
I watched for an opportunity to say a last word to 
Mr. Lincoln previous to his leaving for the Sol- 
diers' Home, where the family were then staying, 
At four o'clock the carriage drove up to the door, 
accompanied by the " Black-Horse Cavalry " es- 
cort. Knowing the President would soon appear, I 
stepped out under the portico to wait for him. Pres- 
ently I caught sight of his unmistakable figure stand- 
ing half-way between the portico and the gateway 
leading to the War Department leaning against the 
iron fence, — one arm thrown over the railing, and 
one foot on the stone coping which supports it, evi- 
dently having been intercepted, on his way in from 
the War Department, by a plain-looking man, who 
was giving him, very diffidently, an account of a 
difficulty which he had been unable to have recti- 
fied. While waiting, I walked out leisurely to the 
President's side. He said very little to the man, 
but was intently studying the expression of his face 
while he was narrating his trouble. When he had 



352 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

finished, Mr. Lincoln said to him, u Have you a 
blank card ? " The man searched his pockets, but 
finding none, a gentleman standing near, who had 
overheard the question, came forward and said, 
u Here is one, Mr. President." Several persons 
had in the mean time gathered around. Taking 
the card and a pencil, Mr. Lincoln sat down upon 
the low stone coping, presenting almost the appear- 
ance of- sitting upon the pavement itself, and wrote 
an order upon the card to the proper official to 
" examine this man's case." While writing this, 
I observed several persons passing down the prom- 
enade smiling, at what I presume they thought the 
undignified appearance of the head of the nation, 
who, however, seemed utterly unconscious, either 
of any impropriety in the action, or of attracting 
any attention. To me it was not only another 
picture of the native goodness of the man, but of 
true nobility of character, exemplified not so much 
by.a disregard of conventionalities, as in uncon- 
sciousness that there could be any breach of eti- 
quette or dignity in the manner of an honest attempt 
to serve or secure justice to a citizen of the Republic, 
however humble he might be. Rising to his feet he 
handed the man the card, with a word of direction, 

and then turning to me said: " Well C , I 

must go in and take one more look at the picture 
before you leave us." So saying, he accompanied 
me to the East Room, and sitting down in front 
of it, remained for some time in silence. I said that 



SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 353 

I nad at length worked out my idea, as he ex- 
pressed it at our first interview, and would now be 
glad to hear his final suggestions and criticism. 

" There is little to find fault with," he replied ; 
" the portraiture is the main thing, and that seems 
to me absolutely perfect." 

I then called his attention afresh to the accesso- 
ries of the picture, stating that these had been 
selected from the objects in the Cabinet chamber 
with reference solely to their bearing upon the sub- 
ject. "Yes," said he, "there are the war-maps, 
the portfolios, the slave-ma]), and all ; but the book 
in the corner, leaning against the chair-leg, — you 
have changed the title of that, I see." " Yes," I 
replied ; " at the last moment I learned that you 
frequently consulted, during the period you were 
preparing the Proclamation, Solicitor Whiting's 
work on the 4 War Powers of the President,' and 
as Emancipation was the result in fact of a mil- 
itary necessity, the book seemed to me just the 
thing to go in there ; so I simply changed the 
title, leaving the old sheepskin cover as it was." 
" Now," said he, " Whiting's book is not a regu- 
lar law-book. It is all very well that it should 
be there; but I would suggest that as you have 
changed the title, you change also the character of 
the binding. It now looks like an old volume of 
United States Statutes." I thanked him for this 
criticism, and then said : " Is there anything else 
that you would like changed or added?" "No," 

23 



354 SIX MONTHS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. 

he replied, and then repeated very emphatically 
the expression he used when the design was first 
sketched upon the canvas : " It is as good as it 
can be made." 

I then referred at some length, to the enthu- 
siasm in which the picture was conceived and had 
been executed, concluding with an expression of 
my profound appreciation of the very unusual op- 
portunities afforded me in the prosecution of the 
work, and his unvarying kindness and considera- 
tion through the many weeks of our intercourse. 

He listened pensively, — almost passively, to me, 
— his eyes fastened upon the picture. As I fin- 
ished he. turned, and in his simple-hearted, earnest 

w r ay, said : " C , I believe I am about as glad 

over the success of this work as you are." And 
with these words in my ear, and a cordial " good- 
bye " grasp of the hand, President and painter 
separated : the one to gather into and around 
himself more and more the affections of a mighty 
people, till in the culmination and attainment of 
all his heart's desires he should be called from 
u gl° r y to glory ; " the other, in his humble sphere, 
to garner as a precious legacy to him and his 
these fragments of leaves from the daily life of one 
whose name and fame — inseparably bound up with 
devotion to freedom and reverence for law, fra- 
grant with the tender memories and sweet humani- 
ties of life — are to grow brighter and stronger 
with God's eternal years, as men learn to appre- 
ciate and emulate a true Christian manhood. 



INDEX. 



Adams, J. Q., 211. 
Alley, Hon. J. B., 119. 
All-noise Story, 212. 
Amnesty Proclamation, 98. 
Andersonville, 177. 
Apparition, 164. 

Arnold, Hon. I. N., 150, 237, 302. 
Ashley, Hon. Mr., 151. 
Ashmun, Hon. George, 284-286. 
Assassination, 63. 



B. 



Baker, G. E., 127. 
Baldwin, Judge, (Cal.,) 245. 
Baltimore Convention, 162. 
Barrett, Hon. J. II., 86, 254. 
Bateman, Newton, 192. 
Bates, Attorney-General, 55. 
Battle, Fair Oaks, 139. 
Beecher, Henrv Ward, 135, 230. 
Bellows, Rev. Dr., 81, 274. 
Bible Presentation, 199. 
Bingham, Hon. John A., 234. 
Blair, Hon. M., 21, 46, 88 
Booth, Edwin, 49. 
Bowen, H. C, 221. 
Brady, M. B., 46. 
Braine, Lieutenant, 94. 
Brooks. Noah, 63, 165, 188, 235. 
"Bulletin," (San Francisco,) 223. 
Burnside, 81. 



C. 



Cabinet Meeting, 55. 
Cameron, Secretary, 136-138, 253. 
Cannon, Colonel L. B., 115. 
Oass, General, 271. 



Chase, 21, 84, 85, 86, 88-90, 130 
218, 223; letter to Stanton, 180. 

Cheever, Rev. Dr., 147. 

Chicago Convention, 119. 

Christian Commission, 161. 

Clark, Senator, 276. 

Clay, Henrv, 71. 

Colfax, Hon. Schuyler, 14, 85, 87 
172, 177, 195, 285. 

Concert, Marine Band, 143, 168. 

Creech, 68. 

Creeds, 190. 

Crittenden, General, 46 

Cropsey, 168. 

Curtin, 82-84. 

Cushiug, Lieutenant, 232. 



D. 



Dall, Mrs. C. H., 165. 
Defrees, 126. 

Deming, Hon. H. C, 190, 219. 
"Demonstrate," 314. 
Derby, J. C, (N.Y.,)290. 
Description of Picture, 27. 
Dole, Commissioner, 282. 
Douglas, Hon. Stephen A., 194, 

237, 249, 315. 
Douglass, Frederick, 204. 



E. 



Elliott, (Artist,) 69. 
Emancipation, 21, 73, 74, 77, 78, 

86, 196, 197, 269, 307. 
Equestrian Statues, 71. 
Ewing, Hon. Thomas, 37. 

F. 

Fessenden, Hon. W. P., 182. 



356 



INDEX. 



Field, Rev. II. M., 135. 
Florida Expedition, 48. 
Ford, Hon. Thomas, 296. 
Forney, Colonel, 267. 
Forrest, Edwin, 114. 
Frank, Hon. A., 218. 
Freedmen, 190. 
Fremont, 47, 220, 221. 

G. 

Gamble, Governor. 242. 

Garfield, General, 240. 

Garrison, 187. 

Gilbert, Wall Street Assessor, 255. 

Goldsborough, Admiral, 240. 

Grant, General, 56, 57, 265, 283, 
292. 

Greeley, 152. 

Greene, W. T., 267. 

Gulliver, Rev. J. B., Reminis- 
cences, 300. 

H. 

Halpine, Colonel, 63, 278. 
Hammond, Surgeon-General, 274, 

275. 
Hanks, Dennis, 299. 
Harris, Hon. Ira, 175. 
Hay, John, 45, 149. 
Henderson, Rev. Mr., 320. 
Henry, Dr., (Oregon,) 302. 
Herndon, Hon. Wm. H. ; analysis 

of Mr. Lincoln's character, 323. 
Higby, Hon. William, 148 
Holland, Dr., 79, 191. 
Holmes, O. W., 58. 
Holt, Judge, 32, 33. 
Hooker, General, 233. 
Hospitals, 107. 
Hubbard, Hon. Mr., (Ct.,) 253. 

I. 

"Independent," New York, 88, 

230, 287. 
" Ingenious Nonsense," 158. 
Inman, (Artist,) 69. 
Interview, first, with Mr. Lincoln, 

18. 

J. 

Jackson, v Stonewall," 234, 2f>8. 



Johnson, Hon. Andrew, 102. 
Johnson, Oliver, 77. 
Jones, (Sculptor,) 34. 

K. 

Kelly, Hon. Wm., 92, 165, 294. 

King, Starr, 228. 

Knox, William, (Poet,) 60. 



Lincoln, Hon. G. B., of Brooklyn, 
110, 113, 234. 

Lincoln, Mrs., 165. 293, 301. 

Lincoln, President, account of 
Emancipation Proclamation, 20 
76, 83, 85, 90, 269, 307 ; his sad- 
ness, 30 ; love of Shakspeare, 49 ; 
memorv, 52 ; appreciation of poe- 
try. 59 ; " Oh, why should the 
spirit of mortal be proud V " 60 ; 
opinion concerning Assassina- 
tion, 62; " Latin " quotation, 78; 
exceptionable stories, 80 ; on 
Wall Street gold speculators, 
84; closing sentence, 89; "prom- 
ised his God," &c.,90; his ma- 
tured judgment upon the act of 
Emancipation, 90 ; simplicity 
and humility, 95 ; his first dol- 
lar, 96 ; Amnesty Proclamation, 
interview with lion. Robert Dale 
Owen, 98; account of capture 
of Norfolk, 104, 210; exhausted 
patience illustrated, 106, 108; 
wounded Marylander, 109; as 
surveyor, 111; u new clothes," 
113 ; axes, 113, 289 ; never read 
a novel, 114; interview with 
Rev. Dr. Vinton, 117 ; telegram 
to friends at Chicago Conven- 
tion, 120; reception of nomi- 
nation, (I860,) 121; temperance 
principles, 125; "sugar-coated," 
126 ; the signing of public doc- 
uments, 128 ; speech to foreign 
minister, 128; on office-seekers, 
129, 145, 276; borrowing the 
army, 130; Sunday-school cele- 
bration, 130 ; regard for chil- 
dren, 132; "the baby did it," 
133; pardon cases, 40, 43, 133. 



INDEX. 



357 



171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176. 250, 
296, 319; Five Points' Sun- 
day-School, 133; at Henry 
Ward Beecher's church, 134; 
relations with Cabinet, 135; Sec- 
retary Cameron's Report, 136; 
General Patterson, 137; Sec- 
retary Cameron's retirement, 
138; interview with P. M. Wet- 
more, (N. Y.,) 140; sensitive- 
ness. 144, 145; " thin skinned," 
145; willingness to receive ad- 
vice, 140; "canvassed hams," 
148; indifference to personal 
appearance, 148; Nicolay and 
Hay, 149; " Nasby Letters," 
151; relief found in story-tell- 
ing, 152; Greeley, 152,' 153; 
newspaper reading, 154; news- 
paper "gas," 155; newspa- 
per "reliable," 156; Chicago 
" Times," 156 ; " ingenious non- 
sense," 158; "husked out," 158; 
letter to Lovejoy Monument 
Association, 160; Massett, 160; 
Christian Commission, 162; re- 
nomination, 162 ; apparition, 
164; Mrs. Lincoln, 164, 293. 
301; speech to committee from 
Baltimore Convention, and Wil- 
liam Lloyd Garrison, 167; 
Mrs. Cropsey, 168 ; and soldiers, 
169; reprieves, 171; a hand- 
some President, 174 ; idiotic 
boy, 176 ; Andersonville prison- 
ers, 178; retaliation, 178; Fes- 
senden, 182 ; McCulloch, 184; 
religious experience, 185-188; 
rebel ladies, 189; Col. Deming, 
190 ; creeds, 190 ; Newton Bate- 
man, 192 ; slavery, 194 ; prayer, 
195 ; epitaph suggested, 196 ; Bi- 
ble presentation, 197; Caroline 
Johnson, once a slave. 199 ; 
Sojourner Truth, 201-203; Fred- 
erick Douglass, 204; memorial 
from children, 204; New Year's 
Day, 1805, 205; "walk de 
earf like de Lord," 209; 
Kebel Peace Commissioners, 212 ; 
" slave map," 215 ; Kilpatrick, 
216; personal description, 217, 
323 ; opinion on the war, 
219; text applied to Fremont, 



220 ; reappointment of Fre- 
mont, 222; California lady's ac- 
count of a visit at " Soldiers' 
Home," 223; on "trees," 224; 
"school of events," 225; Mc- 
Clellan, 130, 143, 227, 255; 
Peace Convention, 229; Henry 
Ward Beecher, 230; popularity 
with the soldiers and people, 
231; portraits, 46, 231; Lieu- 
tenant Cushing, 232; last in- 
augural, 234 ; his election to 
the legislature in 1834, 234; 
never invented a " story," 
235 ; first political speech, 236 ; 
contest with Douglas. 237; af- 
fection for his step-mother. 238 ; 
reply to anti-slavery delegation 
from New York, 239 ; reply to 
a clerg} T man, 239 ; concerning 
Gov. Gamble of Missouri, 242; 
on Seward's "poetry," 242; be- 
trothal of Prince of Wales, 
243 ; honesty as a lawyer, 245 ; 
" attorney of the people," 245; 
" little influence with this ad- 
ministration," 246; reply to 
Stanton's detractor, 246: the 
German lieutenant, 246; Gen- 
eral Grant's " whiskey," 247 ; 
no personal vices, 247 ; ser- 
enade speeches, 248 ; his own 
war minister, 249; illustration 
from "Euclid," 249; "pigeon- 
hearted," 250; " minneboohoo," 
251; Hannibal's wars, 253 ; 
reports of committees, 253 ; 
Brigadier-Generals, 254, 260 ; 
twelve hundred thousand reb- 
els in the field, 255 ; Assessor 
Gilbert, 255 ; on canes, 256; 
hogshead illustration, 256; on 
Missouri Compromise, 257 ; 
" Statute of Limitations," 257 ; 
Blondin crossing Niagara, 
257; reply to attacks, 258; 
Chicago " Democratic Plat- 
form," 259; death of John Mor- 
gan, 259 ; case of Franklin W. 
Smith, 259; " royal" blood, 
201; reading the Bible, 262; 
thinking of a man down South 
263; presentiment of death, 263; 
the wards of the nation, 264; 



858 



INDEX. 



Lincoln and Stanton, 265; as 
a flat-boatman, 267; Louisiana 
negro, 268; Stonewall Jackson, 

268 ; replv to Kentuckians, 

269 ; letter to General Wads- 
worth, 270 ; extract from speech 
in Congress, 271; ''browsing 
around," 272; the negro porter, 
272; Rev. Dr. Bellows and Sur- 
geon-General Hammond, 274 ; 
the election of President the 
people's business, 275; appoint- 
ment of chaplains, 277 ; appreci- 
ation of humor, 278 ; ''public 
opinion baths," 281 ; "on the 
Lord's side," 282; going down 
with colors flying, 282 ; opinion 
of General Grant, 283 ; interview 
with Messrs. Colfax and Ash- 
mun, evening of assassination, 
284; at City-Point hospital, 287 ; 
Lincoln and the rebel soldier, 
288; last interview with Secre- 
tarv Seward, 290; his dream, 
292 ; last afternoon, 293 ; Lincoln 
and Willie Bladen, 294; "you 
don't wear hoops" &c, 297 ; 
Grist illustration, 298; his duel, 
302 ; interview with Judge Mills 
and ex-Gov. Randall, (Wis.,) 
305 ; Lincoln and Rev. J. P. Gul- 
liver, 309; shedding of blood, 
the remission of sins, 319 ; Lin- 
coln and the drummer-boy, 319 ; 
consideration of the humble 
illustrated, 321 ; " may you live 
a thousand years, and always 
be the head of this great na- 
tion," 322; Herndon's analysis 
of character, 323 ; indifference 
to cerernon}', 326 ; final criti- 
cism of the painting, 353 ; fare- 
well words, 354. 

Lincoln, Robert, 45, 300. 

Lincoln, " Tad," 44, 91, 92, 293, 

300. 
Lincoln, " Willie," 44, 116. 
Lovejov, Hon. Owen, 14, 17, 18, 

20, 47, 57, 157. 

Lincoln's " S tories." 

General Scott and Jones the 
sculptor, 34; " great " men, 37; 



Daniel Webster, 37, 131; Thad. 
Stevens, 38; "a little more 
light and a little less noise," 
49; tax on "state" banks, 53; 
Andv Johnson and Colonel 
Moody, 102; "chin fly," 129; 
Secretarv Cameron's retirement, 
138 ; Wade and Davis' " mani- 
festo," 145; "second advent," 
147; "nothing but a noise," 
155; "swabbing windows," 
159 ; " mistakes," 233 ; " picket " 
storv, 233 ; " plaster of psalm 
tunes," 239; " Fox River," 240; 
"nudum pactum," 241; har- 
monizing the "Democracv," 
244 ; Mrs. Sallie Ward and 
her children, 247 ; a Western 
judge, 250; " lost my apple over- 
board," 252; rigid" government 
and close construction, 254 ; 
" breakers " ahead, 256 ; coun- 
terfeit bill, 262 ; blasting rocks, 
262; General Phelps's emanci- 
pation proclamation, 273; mak- 
ing "ministers," 277; John Ty- 
ler, 278; the Irish soldier and 
Jacob Thompson, 283 ; Jeff*. 
Davis and the coon, 284; last 
story, — "how Patagonians eat 
oysters," told to Marshal La- 
mon on evening of assassina- 
tion, 285. 

M. 

Marine Band, 168. 

" Massa Sam 's dead," 207 

McClellan, 130, 143. 227, 255. 

McCulloch, Hon. Hugh, 179, 185. 

McKaye, Colonel, 208. 

McVeagh, 242. 

Memory, 52. 

Miller, Hon. S. F., 5, 174. 

Mills, Judge J. T., (Wis.,) 305. 

Mix, Captain. 261. 

Moody, Colonel, 102. 

Morgan, John, 259. 

Morgan, Senator, 74. 

Murtagh, Mr., (Washington,) 32L 

N. 

"Nasby Papers," 151. 



INDEX. 



359 



Newspapers, 154. 
Nicolay, 149. 

Norfolk, (capture,) 104, 240. 
Novels, 115. 



0. 



Odell, lion. M. F., 170, 178. 
M Oh why should the spirit of 
mortal be proud?" (Poem,) 60. 
Owen, Robert Dale, 98. 



Pardon applications, 40, 43, 132, 
171, 172, 173,174,175,176,250, 
296, 297, 318. 

Patterson, General, 137. 

Peace Conference at Hampton 
Roads, 209. 

Phelps, General, 273. 

Pierpont, Rev. John, 78, 179. 



R. 



Randall, ex-Governor, (Wis.,) 305. 
Raymond, 95, 129. 
Red River disaster, 55. 
Religious character, 185. 
"Root," General, 70. 
"Root Hog" Story, 211. 



S. 



Scott, General, 34. 

Seward, Secretaiy, 22, 69, 223, 
242; on Clay and Webster, 71; 
on "Equestrian" Statues, 71; 
on Emancipation, 72; on Mr. 
Lincoln, 81; Seward and Lin- 
coln, 290 ; the last interview, 
290 : first knowledge of the 
President's death, 291. 

Seymour, General, 48. 

Shakspeare, 49, 115, 150, 162. 

Shannon, Hon. Thomas, 147, 148. 

Sherman, General, 233. 



Shields and Lincoln, 302. 

"Simmons, Pollard," 111. 

Sinclair, 16, 48. 

Sizer, Nelson, 134. 

Slave Map, 215. 

Smith, Franklin W., 259. 

" Sojourner Truth," 201-203. 

" Soldiers' Home," 223. 

"Spectator," (London,) 31. 

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 101. 

Stanton, Secretary, 33, 54, 264 

300. 
Stephens, Alexander, 211, 215. 
Stephens, Mrs. Ann S., 131. 
Stevens, Hon. Thaddeus, 38, 173. 
Stone, Dr., 81. 
Swayne, (Sculptor,) 59. 



T. 



Taylor, B. F., 154. 
Thompson, George, 75. 
Thompson, Rev. J. P., 143, 186 

259. 
Tilton, 89, 167, 196. 



Van Alen, 173. 

Vinton, Rev. Francis, 117. 

W. 

Wade and Davis, 145. 
Wadsworth, General, 270. 
Washington, raid on, 301. 
Webster, 37, 71, 130. 
Welles, Secretary, 232. 
Wetmore, P. M., 140. 
Wilderness battles, 30. 
Wilkeson, 101. 
Willets, Rev., 187. 
Willis, N. P., 115. 

Y. 

Yates, Governor, 267. 



THE END. 



©fje ^uMicationg of 

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THE PUBLICATIONS OF HURD AND HOUGHTON. 3 

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Portrait in Fac-simile of the Drawing by Wilkie, taken in Spain. 
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A large part of these volumes is now first printed from the author's 
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including Irving's earliest Papers, — Biographical, Historical, and Hu- 
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Essays, contributed by Mr. Irving to various periodicals, are in these 
volumes first collected and authenticated. Altogether these volumes 
are as attractive in variety of topics, vigor of treatment, and grace of 
style as the very best of Irving's Works. 

The writings of Irving were never more popular with readers of cultivated 
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and have an Attic flavor which no discriminating reader can fail to relish. — 
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Both are delightful volumes, and will be joyfully welcomed by all who ever 
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HISTORY OF ENGLAND. By Lord Macaulay. From the last 
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THE AUTHORSHIP OF SHAKESPEARE. By Nathaniel 

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Bocial circles. — Syracuse Journal. 



11 Upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of Justice, warranted by the 
Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of 
mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God." 

A. LINCOLN. 



Now ready, for Subscribers only, 
CARPENTER'S 

GREAT NATIONAL PICTURE. 

ENGRAVED ON STEEL BY A. H. RITCHIE. 
THE FIRST READING 

OP THE 

Emancipation Proclamation before the Cabinet, 
by President Lincoln. 

Extracts from Letters from Cabinet Officers to the Artist. 
From Secretary Seward (to the publishers). 

Washington, 25 May, 1866. 
I beg you to accept my thanks for the fine engraving you have sent me of 
Mr. Carpenter's picture, " The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclama- 
tion." 

It is a vivid presentation of the scene, -with portraits of rare fidelity to na- 
ture. 

The engraver has been singularly successful in copying it, without impairing 
or detracting from its excellence in these points. 

Faithfully yours, 

WILLIAM II. SEWARD. 

From Chief- Justice Chase, (late Secretary of the Treasury.) 

Washington, May 1st, 1866. 
I have just received the engraving of your " Emancipation Proclamation Pict- 
ure." I do not see that improvement is possible. 

Accept my congratulations on your complete success. 

As always, your friend, 
F. B. Carpenter, Esq. S. P. CHASE. 

From Secretary Stanton. 

War Department, Washington, May 22, 1866. 
Accept my thanks for the artist proof of your admirable painting of " The 
First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the Cabinet." 

The work is, in every respect that I am capable of judging, entirely satisfac- 
tory, and worthy of national admiration, as a fitting commemoration of Mr. 
Lincoln's great deed. 

Yours truly, EDWIN M. STANTON. 



From Secretary Welles. 

Navy Department, Washington, May 5th, 1866. 
The Engraving, I am happy to see, is amply commended. Some parts are 
excellent, and all well done. 

Some feeling of sadness when I saw it came over me for the great and good 
man who so interested himself for you, and whom we all love. 

Very truly yours, 

GIDEON WELLES. 

From Secretary Mc Culloch. 

Treasury Department, May 3d, 1866. 
The Engraving is a very elegant one. I have no doubt the picture will be 
generally approved and greatly admired. 

I am, very truly yours, 

nacH Mcculloch. 

From Ron. Edward Bates, late Attorney- General of the United States. 

The individual portraits are very life-like. Indeed, I have never seen a group 
of seven or eight figures all of which so truly presented the originals. 

The execution seems to me excellent, and without any opinion of mine, my 
dear sir, your work is a manifest success. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

EDWARD BATES. 

From Postmaster- General Dennison. 

Washington, D. C, May 3d, 1866. 
It gives me very great pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of the admirable 
engraving from your noble painting of ll The First Reading of the Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation before the Cabinet," by our late lamented President. 

The approving judgment of the country of the merit of the picture, and the 
justness of its association with Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence,'' as 
a great national painting, which has been so universally conceded, cannot fail 
to commend the engraving to every truly patriotic American citizen. 

Truly yours, W. DENNISON. 

From Secretary Harlan. 

Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C, May 7, 1866. 
I take great pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of Ritchie's Engraving 
from your beautiful painting. 

Trusting, my dear sir, that you may live long to enjoy the fruits of your em- 
inent talent, I am, truly yours, 

JAMES IIARLAN. 

From Attorney- General Speed. 

Attorney-General's Office, Washington, May 17, 1866. 
In your great picture you have succeeded in bringing out and making the 
faces show their thoughts. You have not sunk the natural in the heroic, a 
fault so common that it must be difficult for an artist to avoid it. The natu- 
ralness of the picture makes it with me one of the grandest and most beautiful 
achievements of art that I have ever seen. 
The Engraving is admirably executed. Truly yours, 

JAMES SPEED. 

From Senator Fessenden, late Secretary of the Treasury. 

Washington,. May 17, 1866. 
I have received the Engraving from your picture of " The First Reading.' 
It is admirably done, both in points of finish and faithfulness, and I prize it 
highly. Yours truly, 

W. P. FESSENDEN. 



Extracts from Notices and Beviews. 
From the New York Evening Post. 

Derby & Miller, No. 5 Spruce Street, have just published an excellent steel 
engraving of Carpenter's picture, by the well-known engraver, A. H. Ritchie. 
This engraving, which is of good size, twenty-one by thirty-two inches, has 
been most carefully and successfully made, and will no doubt take its place 
among the pictures which the people hang upon their walls to commemorate 
one of the great and most notable acts in the nation's history. Mr. Carpenter 
has achieved a success which time will go on ripening to the latest day that 
Americans honor the nobility of their ancestors. 

From the New York Times. 

To those who have seen the original, it is enough to state that the engraving 
is 21 x 32 inches in size ; that it is a perfect reproduction of the painting, to 
the minutest detail, and that it is executed in Mr. Ritchie's best style, which 
is equivalent to saving that it is as fine an engraving as can be produced in 
America. A briefstatement of the leading points in the history of the work 
will be of interest to those who have not seen the painting. It is well known 
that Mr. Lincoln contemplated issuing the Emancipation Proclamation during 
the dark days of 1862, and that it was only postponed in consequence of a sug- 
gestion made by Secretary Seward, at one of the Cabinet meetings, to the effect 
that such an act at that time might be considered the last effort of an exhausted 
Government, — " a cry for help ; the Government stretching forth its hands to 
Ethiopia, instead of Ethiopia stretching forth its hands to the Government." 
He therefore proposed that the document should be held back until some great 
Union success might remove this obstacle. Mr. Lincoln saw the force of the 
objection, anil the proclamation was postponed for the time, but it was made a 
few weeks subsequently — immediately after the victory of Antietam. It is the 
tableau at this Cabinet meeting, when the postponement was decided on, that 
Mr. Carpenter has represented in the painting. In the foreground are Mr. Lin- 
coln and the Secretary of State, both seated, the former supported on his right 
by Secretary Stanton, and on the left by Secretary Welles. Chief-Justice Chase 
(then Secretary of the Treasury) stands slightly to the rear of Mr. Lincoln. At 
the end of the President's table and directly opposite to him is Attorney-Gen- 
eral Bates, and in the background are Postmaster-General Blair, and the Secre- 
tary of the Interior, Caleb B. Smith, both standing. Every one of these like- 
nesses are striking pictures, and were taken from life by Mr. Carpenter ; and 
the entire scene, even to the furniture in the room where the Cabinet meeting 
was actually held, is represented with the utmost accuracy. The production 
well deserves to rank with the most notable of the paintings commemorative of 
important events in American history. 

From the New York Tribune. 

We have long since expressed our opinion of this picture, an opinion which 
time only confirms us in. It is essentially a historic picture, as faithful and 
true to the fact as the artist could make it, painted out of his enthusiasm fur 
the cause of freedom and his admiration for Mr. Lincoln. His theme was most 
interesting, and he has made the most of it. The engraving is very faithful to 
the original, and Mr. Ritchie has been at especial pains to preserve the accuracy 
of the portraits, feeling that the whole interest of the picture centres in them, 
and anxious to do his best to preserve the historic value of the work. Mr. 
Carpenter expresses himself as entirely satisfied with the reproduction of his 
picture. We may add that the number of impressions to be taken from the 
plate is limited. 



From the New York Independent. 
Mr. F. B. Carpenter's historical picture of President Lincoln reading to hi* 
Cabinet his Proclamation of Emancipation has been reproduced by Mr. Ritchie, 
in an engraving which is regarded by critics as eminently successful. The en- 
graving is about three feet long and two feet wide, large enough, when hanging 
on the wall of a room, to show the portraits distinctly at a considerable dis- 
tance. Mr. Carpenter's original painting has a national reputation ; and Mr. 
Ritchie's engraving will have a national circulation. The expression on Mr. 
Lincoln's face, in this picture, is one which we frequently saw him exhibit, and 
one which has been seldom caught in his portraits, not even in photographs, — 
a mingled merry and serious mood, a union of playfulness and dignity, which 
were as interchangeable with him as the lights and shadows of an April day. 

From Assistant Secretary Seward (to the publishers). 

Washington, May 19, 1866. 
Gentlemen: I beg you to accept my thanks for your admirable engraving 
of Mr. Carpenter's "First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation." 

The fidelity of its portraits enhances the historical interest derived from the 
subject of the picture. 

It must be as gratifying to Mr. Carpenter to find his great work so accurately 
and beautifully reproduced, as it is gratifying to others to find it in a form 
which permits it to be seen and appreciated everywhere throughout the world. 

Yours truly, F. W. SEWARD. 

From George E. Baker, Editor of Seward's Works, and Agent of the 

State Department. 

Washington, April 30, 1866. 
I never did so love and prize a picture as I do Carpenter's, as engraved by 
Ritchie. How it grows on me ! Everybody that knows anything of art or of 
the subject, is as enthusiastic as I am over the picture. And I observe that the 
more cultivated the observers are, the more they admire it. The Secretary of 
State and his family are among those who are least stinted in their praise of it 
as a perfect work of art. Sincerely yours, 

Geo. E. Baker. 



The Size of the Engraving is 21 inches by 32 inches, on 
Large and Heavy Plate Paper. 

Prices-ARTIST'S PROOFS (signed), $50; INDIA 
PROOFS, $25 ; PRINTS, $10. 

Address 
THE DERBY AND MILLER PUBLISHING COMPANY, 

5 Spruce Street, New York 



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